Want to kick in some bread to help Chef Bruce Wieszala make more meat?
Wieszala, one of the most talented chefs working in Western New York, can usually be found in the kitchen at Carmelo’s, in Lewiston. On his own time, he’s pursued his love of Italian charcuterie – cured meat. Operating as COPPA Artisan Cured Meats, he’s started turning out handmade prosciutto, sopressatta, finocchio and a dozen other types. In the fall, Wieszala hopes to open a store for his meats, along with a few sandwiches and other accompaniments, at 425 Elmwood Ave. Some of his products are already for sale next door at Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile.
In the meantime, Wieszala is asking for $25,000 in donations to help buy equipment to expand production. “To keep up with the demand and larger volume, I’m definitely going to need a bigger curing room, a larger grinder, a larger stuffer,” he said.
He’s using the Kickstarter online service, which tracks donations from people interested in funding projects. There’s incentive gifts, like a COPPA meat sampler for a $100 donation. If the goal isn’t reached by the deadline, donors get their money back.
Wieszala’s fine dining career started in Atlanta, where he cooked in top kitchens. He’s the only Western New York chef who has actually competed on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” assisting challenging Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins in 2007’s Battle Sablefish.
To donate, point your web browser to kickstarter.com/projects/514664775/coppa-artisan-cured-meat and follow the instructions. As of Aug. 2, there were about $4,700 in commitments, quite a ways away from the goal with eight days left.
Wieszala expects to open his store either way, so at least the cured meat aficionados of Western New York have that to look forward to.