The Good Life Charcuterie Provides Luxury for Man and BeastNov 01, 2021 10:51AM ● By Kamrin Baker
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Gone are the days of last-minute meat and cheese platters from the grocery store. Jasmine Deane and Sarah O’Callaghan think charcuterie is a work of art—and a vehicle for community.
The Good Life Charcuterie is a year-old catering company devoted to a luxurious and tasteful charcuterie experience. At the time of this Omaha Magazine interview, Deane and O'Callaghan co-owned this venture.
The Good Life, like many new businesses, was born of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deane is a Nebraska transplant who moved to Omaha from Virginia Beach in December 2020.
“Moving to a new place can be really scary, and this was my way of connecting with people,” Deane said. “Being stuck in the house, I was able to put my entire being into this. I love community, but I’m also not a ‘look at me’ kind of person, and this has taught me that there are ways to be a part of the community that I never had imagined before.”
The Good Life Charcuterie offers grazing tables for big events, as well as individual charcuterie boxes, which can be customized based on the needs and desires of the customer.
“Food is the way to the heart, and we’re able to make this luxurious, beautiful, earthy experience for our customers,” Deane said. “You’re never going to get the same grazing table twice. And each box is curated to its recipient. It says: ‘I’m sorry I can’t be there for you, but this is a gift that’s made just for you.’”
In late May and early June, the duo prepared small boxes for patients at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, as well as the Omaha Fire Department. The little gifts go a long way.
Deane and O’Callaghan are deeply invested in providing a unique experience while supporting other small businesses. Their vendor list is extensive, and Deane said having O’Callaghan’s strong “connector” skills has woven them into almost every corner of the tight-knit Omaha foodie community.
“We get our meats and cheeses from Stoysich, all produce from local farms or farmers markets, honeys from Fat Head Honey, pastries from Sweet Magnolias, and we peruse Made in Omaha for fun local goodies as well,” O’Callaghan said. “We also work with local executive chef Joel Hassanali to perfect our luxury charcuterie menus.”
While the Good Life team has a passion for supporting local businesses—especially in the wake of a COVID economy—O’Callaghan is thrilled at the prospects of partnering with local vendors to expand the community and education piece of the business.
“What we’re doing now is things like wine and cheese pairings and beer flights, so it’s really interesting to hear people talk about their products and exactly where [they] came from, how they brewed it, things like that,” O’Callaghan said. “We’re trying to have that farm-to-table experience and really educate people about what they’re putting into their bodies. It’s more than food. It’s togetherness.”
That togetherness has gone beyond conversations around a grazing table and into the spaces where people work and live. The Good Life has found a home at Modus Coworking, a modern downtown office space transformed to house small businesses like theirs.
“The Good Life Charcuterie has helped expand the Modus community by providing beautiful and delicious grazing tables at our events,” Modus Community Manager Laura Schoening said. “Once folks realize The Good Life Charcuterie is catering one of our events, they immediately flock to it. It may seem simple, but a gorgeous food spread has helped connect our members immensely.”
Before The Good Life, Deane worked in nonprofits and social work, so her knack for building community comes naturally. O’Callaghan, a Nebraska native, has a huge family and said food was always the driving force for their gatherings.
“There are dishes I look forward to at family events and holidays. Cheesy potatoes, Oreo balls, these classic casseroles. It’s like the thumbprint of a family member contributing to this bigger thing,” she said. “If someone doesn’t bring food, it’s like they’re not there because their food isn’t there.”
“Food is an act of love,” Deane said. “You can make fruits and vegetables beautiful and fun. You can make simple things into spectacular things. On paper, we’re just making a cheese board, but it’s so much more than that. It’s like an ode to mother nature.”
The Good Life grazing tables are elaborate and ornate, with hundreds of cold cuts folded into a river of savory indulgence, salami and specialty cheeses cascading through forests of grapes and garnishes. Deane says the intention is to wow people.
“We put hours into three feet of food,” Deane says. “Most people taste with their eyes, then their mouth. We speak to that visual taste every time.”
Another facet of The Good Life Charcuterie brand is its unique approach to another demographic: dogs. O’Callaghan is a lifelong dog-lover, turned French-bulldog breeder, turned dog nutrition advocate. She saw dog charcuterie boards, or “barkuterie,” popping up along the coasts and knew Omaha’s four-legged friends deserved the same sort of luxury.
“Growing up, a lot of my dogs were dying of cancer or heart failure, and I knew they could have lived longer, healthier lives,” O’Callaghan said. “Kibble hasn’t changed in the last 40 years, and I started researching more into raw diets for my dog. Before we were business partners, Jasmine shared about barkuterie on social media, and I messaged her and said: ‘I’d love to do this.’”
Deane calls it a “perfect storm.” O’Callaghan’s love of dog nutrition, coupled with her savvy for local animal brands, built an arm to the company that reaches even more hungry bellies.
“The first response with barkuterie is usually ‘your dog eats better than me,’” O’Callaghan says. “I saw a meme recently that said: ‘Dogs are the new kids and plants are the new pets.’ It’s so true for current generations, and I think we’re finding new ways to gather and connect with people, even if you don’t have children or big families.”
The Good Life sources dog delicacies from local vendors Long Dog Fat Cat, The Green Spot, and Brixtix Bakery. O’Callaghan caters to different desires here as well, offering “adventure boards” with treats such as chicken heads or rabbit ears, as well as dog-safe desserts, usually grain-free pumpkin cookies, perfect for a birthday party or Instagram post.
O’Callaghan and Deane have partnered to ensure that no one gets left behind when it comes to a beautiful spread.
“We want people to feel emotion,” Deane says. “We want you to be moved by this—we want this to be something you remember forever.”
Whether enjoyed at the dog park or an elegant wedding venue, charcuterie can be for everyone and can include anything.
“It’s like when someone goes to the gas station and picks up your favorite soda because they were thinking of you,” O’Callaghan said. “It’s not just meat and cheese thrown on a plate; it’s making people feel loved through community, education, and emotion.”
Visit thegoodlifecharcuterie.com for more information.
Editor's Note: At the time of this printing, Deane and O’Callaghan’s collaboration had expired. Deane will continue to sell and create charcuterie as well as barkuterie under The Good Life Charcuterie moniker. O’Callaghan will continue to create her barkuterie under her 402 Frenchies brand, which you can find on Instagram and Facebook.
This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.