The chef duo behind the new West Loop restaurant Tete Charcuterie—Thomas Rice (Jean Georges in New York City, Alain Ducasse's Louis XV in Monte Carlo, Monaco) and Kurt Guzowski (Landmark)—don't pay much mind to that saying about too many cooks spoiling the broth. They nudge each other to make excellent charcuterie (prepared meats) daily. "We push each other until it's good," said Rice. Guzowski agreed. "We have a great camaraderie. If it tastes terrible, I'll tell him," he said. That collegial honesty is paying dividends. While their work reminds me of the kind of rustic meats you might find in tiny European butcher shops, it also has a level of refinement and balance that comes from their fine-dining experience.
Of course, great charcuterie is still a rare thing around Chicago. As such, you may not be up on all the fancy meat-curing terms. As the first Chicago restaurant to devote itself almost entirely to serving cured and prepared meats, Tete offers a great opportunity to provide a primer on charcuterie. Even if you don't know rillettes from paté, I've got you covered.