Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Charqute

First published in the Nov. 27 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

By Ani Duzdabanyan, Burbank Leader

The Burbank Chamber of Commerce celebrated charcuterie and cheese board company Charqute, whose owner went viral on social media for his creations, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.
The chamber held the event at its headquarters, with city officials and community members honoring chef Karreno Alexanyan. The organization’s CEO, Jamie Keyser-Thomas, said it is very important to set up a new, progressive chamber that can focus on and support small businesses — especially after the pandemic
“Being able to really showcase how our small business community is striving is the chamber’s goal and responsibility, to make sure we’re doing whatever we can to play our part to help promote and support these small businesses,” Keyser-Thomas added. “They are vital to this community. We don’t want this business to be ‘the best kept secret in Burbank.’ We are working with other chambers to make sure that we are not just promoting this platter in front of us, but showing that it can be done throughout [Los Angeles] County and beyond.”
Wooden boards craftily filled with cheese, cold cut meat assortments, fruits and nuts became Alexanyan’s ticket to a new journey. When the pandemic started, he lost his job as a chef at Karreno’s Kitchen, the company he founded six years ago. But he never lost his passion for cooking. Instead, he started Charqute, making charcuterie boards with ingredients from different stores to share affordable platters for every consumer’s budget.

Photo by Ani Duzdabanyan / Burbank Leader
Charqute‘s charcuterie and cheese boards went viral during the pandemic after chef Karreno Alexanyan showed his creations on TikTok and Instagram.

The practice paid off. Using social media platforms, including TikTok and Instagram, the company received millions of views and attracted the attention of Netflix. Alexanyan later signed a contract with the company, making charcuterie boards themed after the series “Bridgerton” for the members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences during the Emmy Awards ceremony.
Collaborations with cheese producer Karoun Dairies, wholesaler Tazah and others contributed to Alexanyan’s success. Warner Bros. also choose Charqute to cater events. Recently, the company started to work with 99 Cents Only Stores and created special boards using the products that the chain offers.
“If you would have told me last year in November that this would happen, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Alexanyan said. “One thing leads to another, and you kind of decide to elevate your performance and challenge yourself, [to] acquire skills that you didn’t know that existed or you needed.”
Alexanyan moved to the United States when he was 13 years old. He was visiting his grandparents but eventually ended up staying to pursue his education. He received his bachelor’s degree in film from the University of California Santa Barbara and his master’s degree in project management from Boston University.
He started his career as a chef six years ago, shifting from the banking industry to his longtime passion: cooking.
“I started to travel the world. [In] every country I visited, I took cooking courses. As I did that, I learned more about spices and other ingredients,” Alexanyan said, adding that having experience in project management, banking and filmmaking helped his new business.
During last week’s ceremony, Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos delivered a certificate of recognition to Charqute, welcoming the new business to the community.
“I love being a Burbankean,” Alexanyan said.
Charqute is giving back to the community by participating in various fundraisers. This month, the company will donate 10% of the proceeds from its “Baby Boards” to the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief.