Prior to my dream job of Cheesemonger, I was working as a Certified Public Accountant at Deloitte & Touche. In search of my professional passion, I quit my job, began to study food, and found myself attracted to cheese. The more that I read, ate, and learned, the more I wanted to keep going. That’s when Kendall and I started hosting Grilled Cheese Club events for friends at our house. While the dinners were designed to revolve around gourmet sandwiches, they quickly evolved into guided cheese tastings and pairings. I began to travel as much as I could, visiting dairies and cheese shops collecting as many samples as possible. I followed that with a trip to France to intern with affineur Herve Mons, and then traveled with Kendall through the Alps stopping whenever we saw a “Fromage” sign. It was an amazing experience. Eventually, with the support and commitment of Kendall, I begin to build our business.
Now I am a full-time cheesemonger with part time accounting responsibilities (old habits die hard). In 2012, I was elected to the Board of Directors for the American Cheese Society where I continue my work as a member of the Judging and Competition Committee through which we (along with other amazing committee members) plan and manage North America’s largest cheese competition. Although job duties often demand otherwise, I have been behind the case since we opened and hope to be there for the rest of my life.
- Favorite Cheese: The one in front of me!
- Favorite Pairing: Ossau-Iraty (Onetik) with Hennepin (Ommegang)
- Ideal Cheese Plate: A single cheese – either a perfect Rush Creek, Epoisses, or Vacherin Mont d’Or and a spoon
- Dream Trip: Whatever trip takes me to find the next great cheese for our case
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Fleur de Sel. Or Tupelo Honey. Or Finocchiona. (I give up. Tough question).
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Come in and find out!
- Cheese-y Nickname: The Cheese Man
- Favorite Milk Type: Mixed Milk
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Pleasant Ridge Reserve because I’m a little nutty, a little sweet, a little earthy but always very dependable.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Making you smile and hopefully becoming your friend.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: Because they would hire me.
- Other Hobbies: Being with Kendall, eating, talking and traveling. Isn’t it great when your job is your hobby?!
How does one exactly become a cheesemonger? I’m still asking that question myself. With a Georgetown University degree in Culture and Politics and a UT masters degree in Latin American Studies, I was working at a local non-profit running a program for immigrant survivors of crimes like human trafficking. John and I knew we wanted to work together someday. (To be honest, I always thought it would be at my nonprofit!) But after running the cheese club out of our house, I quickly realized it wasn’t only John who was becoming obsessed with molds, milks, breeds, producers, and the like. And from there, the rest is history. In a way, it all makes sense. A significant portion of my youth was spent rodeo’ing (yes- even being forced to run for rodeo queen!), showing sheep in 4-H, and occasionally being dragged before sunrise to help my step-father move cattle on his ranch. From watching him, I know exactly how much work goes into maintaining a ranch, caring for your animals, and trying to make a living. (I also know I’m not cut out for it, and therefore quickly nixed any idea of moving to the country to make our own cheese!) By working behind the cheese counter, I can speak to just how much work producers put into their craft. My appreciation and awe for what they do makes every bite of cheese that much more delicious and my excitement for telling you their story that much more important. Years ago, I couldn’t have guessed I’d become a cheesemonger, but I’m very proud today to say that I am one.
- Favorite Cheese: Unanswerable, like choosing your favorite child
- Favorite Pairing: Tomme Crayeuse (overly ripe) and summer tomatoes
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Bijou, Ossau Iraty, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Hopelessly Blue
- Dream Trip: Any trip! Wanting to hit up Ireland and Greece for next two ideal trips...
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Raclette Machine – with Raclette cheese of course! (And cured meats, cornichons, bread, and tomatoes…)
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Creminelli’s Salame al Tartufo
- Cheese-y Nickname: Cheese Ball
- Favorite Milk Type: Blasphemy. Please see answer above about favorite cheese.
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Winnimere because I’ve always dreamed of being washed in beer, plus I’m firm on the outside but a softie on the inside.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Meeting new food-loving friends and watching kiddos grow up on our cheese!
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I couldn’t let John have all the fun for himself.
- Other Hobbies: My life is pretty cheese-centric these days.
I was an archaeologist; mostly. To be more specific, I was still at the point where I was paying to be an archeologist, not yet to the point where anyone was paying me to be one. So I took a job as a beer and wine buyer in the meantime. Little did I know that the job I took because it sounded fun would completely change my entire life trajectory. Like a siren's song it drew me back to my first true love...food. My father was a chef - a chuckwagon cook to be precise (unusual... I know, but trust me, you can't make that up). When I was little we would go out to eat and I would order anything on the menu I couldn't pronounce. When the food would come, rather than telling me what I ordered he would have me try it first, ask me what I tasted, and I had to figure it out. He refused to tell me, but he always knew what I was ordering. The world at large was far more exotic to me than it was to him. I thought it was just a fun game that we would play, but really from an oddly young age we were training my palate. I thought I would become a chef too, but after a brief 11 year stint in the front of the house restaurant/bar/catering world, I realized that the madness of a kitchen, though invigorating, would probably not be my forever home. I also realized that there was a chance that the hours might have eventually lead to the death of me. I must admit though, after I left that world for good, I secretly kind of missed the characters you would meet and the beautiful chaos that was a day in a restaurant. I took everything I had learned and got a job running a boutique cheese shop in Dallas called Molto Formaggio, after which I landed at Whole Foods for four years running the Specialty department (cheese, beer, wine, coffee) at two stores in Dallas, one in Austin and one in San Antonio. It was a great experience. I met a lot of wonderful people, ate a lot of great cheese, and was given the opportunity to take and pass the first ever Certified Cheese Professional Exam. San Antonio was an adorable city, but I found myself missing Austin quite a bit. When I found out about the Wholesale Manager position here at Antonelli's I jumped at the opportunity! It has become the culmination of all of my favorite things - great people, amazing cheese, and restaurants!
- Favorite Cheese: Harbison
- Favorite Pairing: Montenebro and Albarino
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Red Hawk, Chabrin, Roquefort stuffed dates, toasted walnuts, Gaeta olives sprinkled with harissa, wild flower honey
- Dream Trip: Working the cheese caves with Herve Mons
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Duck Speck and Macabeu
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Mt Tam
- Cheese-y Nickname: The Cheese Wiz
- Favorite Milk Type: Cow
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: an aged gouda because as I get older, I’ve managed to somehow simultaneously become both stronger and sweeter.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Getting to be a part of that moment when someone tries something for the first time and they find it so delicious that their faces light up and a goofy, love-sick grin slides across their face. It’s magical.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: A reputation for being not only the best source for artisanal products, but some of the kindest, most service oriented people in town.
- Other Hobbies: I run from time to time, read a lot, cook, explore restaurants, listen to my records/catch live shows… (is eating a hobby?)
After 7 years as a fundraiser for a large nonprofit, I decided it was time to pursue my first love...food. Through a series of fortunate events, I found myself in Bra, Italy at the University of Gastronomic Sciences pursing a masters in Food, Culture and Communication. Every day we analyzed relationships with food, the farmer just trying to make a living, the activist fighting for a more sustainable food system, the immigrant yearning for a taste of home, or the artisan who is hungry to keep a food tradition alive. As I learned more about our complex food system there was one bite that I couldn't get enough of...cheese! Cheese is a wonderful balance of science and art. From the first moment I set foot in the lush alps of Val d'Aosta at the Fontina Cooperative I realized a life of cheese was for me. Upon graduation, I returned home to Tucson, Arizona and worked as a cheesemonger and food writer. As I pursued my dream in food, my chef husband pursued his...opening up a restaurant. Fast forward some cheese wheels and a lease signing later, we moved to Austin, TX! Lucky for me, there was a spot in the Events Program at Antonelli's Cheese and now I get to delve deeper into the nuanced world of cheese and share my geekiness with others. Life sure is Gouda!
- Favorite Cheese: I haven’t met a cheese I do not love! Right now, my fridge is stocked with Maplebrook Burrata and Challerhocker. Both are great to cook with…well…if they last that long!
- Favorite Pairing: During my first week at Antonelli’s Cheese I sat in on the “Perfect Pairs: Chocolate & Cheese” class. The events team paired Bellwether Farms Pepato cheese with Dick Taylor’s Dominican bar. The fruity accented the peppercorns so well; I'm hooked!
- Ideal Cheese Plate: The ideal cheese plate is a mixture of hard and soft cheeses, some wonderful cured meats and preserves and mustards. It is enjoyed on one a sunny day and is washed down with a lovely beer.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: I am sucker for the beer selection but then again I do really love the Robert Lambert preserves…
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Watching class attendees taste Mt. Tam always evokes the happy dance. You can look around the room and see eyes rolling back, smiles slowly spreading and usually some form of happy mumbling. What can I say, you got to love triple cremes!
- Cheese-y Nickname: My dad always called me Sparky as a kid.
- Favorite Milk Type: While I love soft goat cheeses, my heart belongs to the cows in alpine selections. I love how the same cheese can be so different based on seasonality.
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Challerhocker! Not only does it evoke my happy dance it means “Cellar Sitter” and refers to a child that sits in the cellar waiting until the cheese is ready. I want to be a cellar sitter!
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: It combines two of my favorite things: Cheese and People! ACS has some of the best customers. They are passionate, excited and as nice as can be. It is easy to geek about cheese on a daily basis.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: ACS is simply about sharing great product with other great people…why wouldn’t you want to work here??
- Other Hobbies: Give me a day where I can spend hours cooking and writing and I will be one happy girl!
Assistant Lead - Retail
Honestly, my true appreciation for good food didn’t develop until Michael Pollan’s writing introduced me to the farm-to-table and slow food movements in America. The ideas combined many of my personal interests, from health and animal welfare to culture and society. Eventually I realized I wanted to work in advocacy of good food but wasn’t yet sure in what capacity. I started out in the field, literally, volunteering with various local farms and eventually some out of state as well. While I love getting my hands in the dirt and hanging out with farm animals, I also gained more fascination and appreciation for artisan food production – especially cheese! It’s so satisfying to learn the stories of the artisans, their animals, and how a cheese is crafted. I’m a proud native Austinite and I feel grateful that I’ve been given the chance to exercise my passion at one of the best businesses in town! Come see me!
- Favorite Cheese: Rush Creek Reserve, a spoonful of heaven
- Ideal Cheese Plate: St.Maure, Coolea, Stilton
- Dream Trip: Tour of some of the best cheese operations in Europe, working with animals on the land, in the creamery, and then enjoying the fruits of the labor!
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Blue Heron Cajeta
- Cheese-y Nickname: Queso Queen
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Tomme Crayeuse because I’m soft and pleasant, yet earthy and interesting.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I had a feeling that this team was an amazing group of fun and talented people. I wanted to be in an environment where I was constantly learning and felt inspired by others.
- Other Hobbies: Yoga, reading about food, farming, and culture, aspiring to be a decent home-cook, and when possible, traveling and checking out the food culture in other places
Assistant Lead - Events
I'm a recent transplant from Charlottesville, VA, and a recent transplant to the cheese world! In C-ville, I worked on a CSA farm growing amazing veggies and helping members and their families get to know the place where their food comes from. I also worked at a local cidery bottling hard cider and helping visitors taste and enjoy the different varieties. I gained so much admiration for the farmers and artisans and the hard work and love they put into their products. It was easy enough to translate my excitement for local veggies and drink to cheese. I've always been a cheese fiend and I've always loved entertaining, so working in the events department at Antonelli's is a perfect match! I'm the kind of girl who had a cheese-themed birthday party where I got only cheese as gifts (<-- you should try this, it's the best kind of birthday). Hosting cheese classes as part of the Events department, I get to taste and learn about new cheeses and share that new knowledge and excitement with others. Helping people get a deeper understanding of cheese and their own taste preferences in class is such a rewarding job! Hope to see you in class or behind the counter soon.
- Favorite Cheese: L'amuse Gouda. I love the sweet stuff!
- Favorite Pairing: I love Pure Luck Feta and Figs and Black Tea Preserves from Quince & Apple.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Burrata drizzled with olive oil on some awesome Easy Tiger pan au lavain and tomatoes from my garden cooked with a little balsamic.
- Dream Trip: An east coast vacation in fall to eat apples and drink cider and see the leaves change and visit home!
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Chocolate! If you're a chocolate lover, come check out the Salted Caramel Bar from Chocolate Maker's Studio or a Marou Bar. Both are beautiful and delicious!
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Bourbon Cajeta from Blue Heron. Goat's milk caramel + Maker's Mark = awesomeness.
- Cheese-y Nickname: "The life of the Havarti!" or, "Havarti like it's 1999!"... really I'm just trying to make that Havarti pun work.
- Favorite Milk Type: Goat for freshies, Sheep for hard cheeses, Cow for bloomy triple creams!
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Ossau-Iraty because I'm a crowd-pleaser, and when it's hot, I sweat!
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I love being a host and having that be my job is amazing. The people who work at ACS are some of the most enthusiastic, positive, and invested folks you'll ever meet and those qualities are contagious!
- Other Hobbies: I like gardening, watching videos of kittens trying to play with large dogs, swimming and playing outside, drinking, eating, hanging with friends and family, re-watching The Big Lebowski, and dancing around to Tom Waits in my living room.
Assistant Lead - Food Service
As a graduate of biology and marine science I never imagined myself having a career in cheese. After moving away from Texas and eventually finding myself in a NYC culinary school, my enthusiam for food presented itself as a career opportunity. A few short months dwelling in the caves of Murray's Cheese turned into time well spent in the chaos that is Grand Central market slinging that stinky goodness. I found my calling. Cheese now consumed my life as much as I consumed it. Winter finally became a thing that I never wanted to experience again, so back to Texas I went. Knowing I wanted to continue my career as a smelly cheese person, I knocked on the door of Antonelli's Cheese Shop at the right time that they were looking for a wholesale cheesemonger.....and the rest is history. The end.
- Favorite Cheese: Usually one that smells like feet
- Favorite Pairing: Bailey Hazen Blue (or Caveman Blue) and Icewine Jam
- Ideal Cheese Plate: A Rush Creek Reserve with a crusty baguette
- Dream Trip: A year to backpack and roam the world to see everything and eat everything delicious
- Other Favorite Shop Product: The beer wall
- Cheese-y Nickname: TBD...we'll come back to this one in a few months
- Favorite Milk Type: All of them??
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Challerhocker because its lovable and nutty, yet slightly offensive ;-)
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: opening people's minds to new cheese! I love it when I can show someone that blues or washed rind cheese aren't all that scary.
- Other Hobbies: anything that involves the outdoors: beaches, fishing, surfing (even though I'm terrible at it), hiking, backpacking, snowboarding, traveling. Craft beer, movies, cooking, farmer's markets, trying new restaurants
I’m from Austin, born and raised. I spent some time in Seattle working as a baker. And lived in Los Angeles too… spent three years there. I worked in private homes cooking for Alzheimer’s patients, in a pastry kitchen making desserts and creating an artisan cheese menu, and had an amazing time working as a cheesemonger at the artisan market/restaurant, Farmshop. My life has since become very food positive, service driven, and about small-batch appreciation.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Caveman Blue, Valdeon, Oma, Kunik, Robiola Rochetta… accompaniments would just be baguette slices and wine.
- Dream Trip: My dream trip would be to go to Argentina. Visit Buenos Aires and make my way down to Tierra del Fuego to see the Southern lights. But taking a trip into space would be pretty rad too.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: La Quercia Berkshire Prosciutto.
- Cheese-y Nickname: Curd Nerd
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: eaten. If I were a cheese, I would be eaten.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: The thing I love about being a cheesemonger is talking with people about cheese and sharing those certain cheeses that are absolutely to die for. We might not have anything in common and I might not know anything about you, but we both love cheese.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: We all have the laid-back attitude about cheese. It isn’t a stuffy, high brow thing. It’s cheese, it’s food, it’s delicious! It’s just something that we love and we love sharing.
- Other Hobbies: I write about cheese, I explore new restaurants and new food, I have a good workout regimen, I cook for friends and family, and a huge list of books to read. Are these hobbies? I feel like these are just things I do.
I have never had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life, knowing only that I wanted to be a part of some form of positive change. I knew that I would never be truly happy sitting in a cubicle, pursing some line of work that I didn't feel contributed to the well-being of the world. I began my college career as an Agriculture major at Purdue University with a concentration in wildlife studies. After a chilling winter and a change of major, I found myself back in the lone star state studying biology at the University of Texas. I tacked on a minor in environmental studies, and eventually found myself consumed with the issues plaguing our food system. From free trade agreements to animal welfare to chemical additives, I knew I wanted to dedicate my career to reforming the system and helping people get back to the basics of food. I took over the Slow Food chapter at UT, and began getting involved in the Austin food scene. After graduating with a B.S. from UT, I moved to Arizona to work on a small scale, sustainable meat and vegetable farm. I learned first hand the difficulties of keeping an organic, family owned and operated farm afloat in the current agricultural market (and how to make your own cheese along the way!). My experiences only solidified my passion for reform and my desire to work in food. I ended up back in Austin working with a produce company, but I had always dreamed of working for Antonelli's. In my humble opinion, cheese is the perfect representation of what food should be. It incorporates locality, deep rooted traditions, culture, and inherent identity. Good cheese cannot be made haphazardly without thought, diligent care, artful tending and complex knowledge. There are strict rules about what ingredients can be included and where and how each carefully named cheese can be produced. Also, it's the most versatile and delicious food ever created. Needless to say, the stars aligned and I was finally able to join this fantastic team, sharing the benefits of quality food with all who wish to know them (and sometimes those who don't). Come on in, let's talk over some cheese.
- Favorite Cheese: Constantly changing, I have yet to taste a cheese I don't like. That being said, I can't say no to an alpine style.
- Favorite Pairing: La Quercia's Tamworth Prosciutto and Pecorino Riserva
- Ideal Cheese Plate: A soft-ripened/bloomy cheese (Coupole), a stinky (Oma), a firmish cheese (any alpine style or young gouda), a hard cheese (Dante), and a blue (Stichelton). Throw in a fresh baguette and Confituras jam. I could live off this plate for the rest of my life.
- Dream Trip: I would love to take a trip to Greece or Spain, visiting farms, vineyards, and local restaurants along the way.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Pear and Ginger Jam. Yum.
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey, you can't say no!
- Cheese-y Nickname: That Cheese Girl
- Favorite Milk Type: So hard to choose, they each bring something exciting to the table. Right now I'd have to go with sheep, but it all depends on what's tasting good at the moment.
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Tomme de Savoie because I'm traditional with a uniquely earthy funk.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Working with and interacting with people who are passionate about food. From the producers to the customers, everyone brings a new perspective and unique story. I learn something new every day!
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I wanted to work with a company based on and grounded in good. One that truly cares about its employees, its products, its customers, its reputation and its heart. ACS is truly a family, and every person who walks through the door becomes a part it.
- Other Hobbies: Gardening, fostering for Austin Pets Alive!, cooking and baking, swimming/hiking around Austin, traveling whenever possible, reading, and sitting on the board of Slow Food Austin.
Entrepreneurship is the back bone of my family. So much so, my Dad, aunts, and uncles were raised learning how to make Mexican pastries, tamales, and cheeses to sell in their tiny hometown of San Luis Potosi in Mexico. Having worked with their hands and learning how to run a very small business, they left Mexico to set down roots in Texas. While they did not continue in the food industry (much to my dismay), they pursued their own passions ranging from construction to beauty. After helping my family of entrepreneurs establish and manage their small businesses and meeting my foodie husband (a chef), I sat down after years of chasing my kid around and asked myself, "What do I want to do with the rest of my life?". I knew that whatever I did next, it had to involve my passions for organization, world-class customer service, and amazing foods. As fast as you can say "YUM", I found myself where I'm supposed to be; at Antonelli's eating cheese, sharing cheese, and making sure we don't lose oursevles in piles of paper.
- Favorite Cheese: Comté, forever.
- Favorite Pairing: Brie with fresh, tart green apples. YUM!
- Ideal Cheese Plate: I’d love to try a Mexican-inspired cheese board. I’ve yet to try one! I’m open to suggestions.
- Dream Trip: A cruise to Alaska. I love cold weather and I want my son to see whales in their natural habitat.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Smoking Goose’s Pig & Fig Terrine. I love how the red wine, fig, and caul fat come together to sing a sweet and savory song in your mouth!
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: So many wonderful selections choose from! Right now, Confituras Strawberry Vanilla Bean jam. When my eight year old son tried it, he really did do a happy dance.
- Cheese-y Nickname: The Queso Kahuna
- Favorite Milk Type: Good ol’ cows milk.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: The passion and happiness here is contagious and their reputation for providing high quality artisanal foods and awesome customer service in the Austin food scene.
- Other Hobbies: Writing short stories, photography, swimming, going on road trips in Mexico, and organizing water balloon fights with my awesomely large family.
I was lucky enough to grow up here in Austin in a family that encouraged me to cook from a very young age. I’ve always loved hanging out in the kitchen and learning as much as I could about food. I am fascinated and inspired by Alton Brown’s approach to teaching cooking through experimentation and understanding ingredients and techniques. I’m also an avid reader so Julia Child, Michael Pollan, Anthony Bourdain, and Michael Ruhlman quickly became favorite authors. Though my background is in bassoon performance, teaching and arts administration, I love cooking and discovering new approaches to food. But reading and experimenting in my own kitchen weren’t enough to satiate my culinary curiosity. Thankfully my schedule as a private bassoon teacher leaves me plenty of time for other pursuits and when I became a part of this awesome team of passionate cheese enthusiasts, I felt immediately at home. The creation and consumption of food is such a powerfully transformative experience, and I’m excited to share that with everyone I meet!
- Favorite Cheese: Yes. Ask me each day of the week and I'll probably give you at least 7 different answers.
- Dream Trip: Ireland is next up on my list of places to visit. A gorgeous country with incredible music, delicious beer, cheese, and whiskey. Yeah, I want to go to there.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Inna Jam’s Strawberry Seascape. I love it on everything. (cheese included!)
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Can't go wrong with a thin slice of prosciutto. Silky, buttery, pork magic. It just melts in your mouth.
- Cheese-y Nickname: Quips & Queso
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Manchego, because I’m sweet, a little nutty, and I play well with others.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Learning and tasting. I love trying new things, rediscovering old favorites, and sharing all of that with our customers.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: There is nothing better than being surrounded by people who are just as excited about food as you are. I knew I wanted to be a part of a team that was enthusiastic, inspired, fun, and insatiably curious and Antonelli’s Cheese felt like the perfect fit.
- Other Hobbies: Playing and teaching the bassoon, experimenting with new recipes, watching films, bottle feeding kittens with APA!, and reading whatever I can get my hands on.
I visited a wonderful cheese shop the late 1980's when I lived near Summit, New Jersey, just west of New York City. I had never been in a shop where the cheese was laid out on long wooden shelves behind the counter. Most of the cheese was at air-conditioned room temperature, and it was fresh, a wonderful experience! I have been in love with natural cheeses of all sorts since then. My wife, Sue, and I have traveled in Europe, and a little in South America over the years, and we have always sought out and enjoyed local cheeses and specialty foods. For me, these are learning experiences as local specialty foods reflect the culture of which they are a product. I am passionate about cheese, I love good food and wine, and I love to cook. As owners of the Federal House Inn Bed & Breakfast in western Massachusetts for several years, Sue and I served a delicious breakfast for up to twenty-four guests every morning. Running a B&B is hard work, but creating delicious breakfasts for our guests was a huge reward for me, and providing an elegant dining experience provided the same reward for Sue. Antonelli’s Cheese Shop provides delicious cheeses and related products, and an elegant tasting and purchasing experience (both at the shop and at the cheese classes). Consequently, I feel right at home here.
- Favorite Cheese: Epoisses
- Favorite Pairing: Bucheron and moderately Chilled Chablis
- Ideal Cheese Plate: One each of Antonelli’s seven major styles of cheese, Marcona Almonds, and fresh pear slices
- Dream Trip: A cheese tour of France, Spain or Italy
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Thinly sliced Speck
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Moderately ripe Camembert
- Cheese-y Nickname: Mozzarella Di Bufala Bill Cody
- Favorite Milk Type: Goat's milk
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: An aged cheddar, salty and sweet with a long finish
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: To be around cheese and to be part of the wonderful food scene here in Austin.
- Other Hobbies: Cooking, wine, travel, bird watching and enjoying music.
In high school I became obsessed with people who cook on TV. This was before the coming of certain household names and go-to celebrity chefs, so those of us who found themselves compelled to do so spent hours and hours of our adolescence drinking too much cheap coffee and rooting for our favorite contestants on Japanese cooking game show reruns from the previous decade. It wasn't glamorous, but it did instill in me a certain appreciation for quality ingredients applied with technique and attention to detail in a workman-like timeliness. I spent some time in coffee before finally coming to cheese and salumi. The ancient techniques used to sufficiently store milk and meat were so full of small detail and artisanship and variance – that I had plenty to obsess over with immediately-post-child-like abandon.
- Favorite Cheese: Challerhocker
- Favorite Pairing: Chorizo Navarre with an over-ripened La Serena cheese
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Spanish or Italian focused with budget savvy, but absolutely stunning American wines
- Dream Trip: French Country-side
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Inna Jam Seascape Strawberry Jam
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: La Quercia Prosciutto Americano
- Favorite Milk Type: Sheep or Goat
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Something funky with a non-cutesy name like Twig Farm's Washed Rind
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Telling the story of each product.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: A reputation of excellent cheese and service
- Other Hobbies: Seasoning cast-iron pans and playing in a band.
Born and raised just north of Albuquerque, I was introduced to good food at a young age by my mom who loves to garden and my dad who loves to cook, though it took me a while to start appreciating how good I had it (there were a few years of my life where I would only eat spaghetti and frozen mac n' cheese). When I studied abroad in France in high school, I was introduced to a whole new world of cheese (and bread, and pastry, and so many other delicious foods). I moved to Austin in 2009 for my undergrad, where I majored in Plan II and Middle Eastern Studies and spent a lot of time learning Arabic. Before graduating I spent a fifth year abroad studying Arabic in Morocco - one of the things I miss most is the amazing produce that I could get there for crazy cheap prices! The only thing I love more than learning languages is food, and cheese has an extra special place in my heart. Although I'm still a novice in the cheese world, I'm having a fantastic time learning as much as I can about cheese and all of the other great artisanal products we have in our shop - every day there's something new and exciting. I'm so happy to get to work where I learn through tasting, and I love giving everyone who comes in the chance to learn along with me!
- Favorite Cheese: I can't possibly pick - there's too many amazing cheeses out there to have a favorite! Every time I think I've picked one a new cheese comes into the shop and I fall in love all over again.
- Favorite Pairing: Brabander Goat Gouda and Blue Heron Farm Cajeta. It's sweet creamy perfection.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: It changes based on what's in the case and what I'm in the mood for, but it would for sure include Roelli Dunbarton Blue.
- Dream Trip: I'd love to travel across North Africa and the Middle East, starting in Morocco and working my way up to Turkey. I'd also love to travel to Thailand and India.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: La Quercia Berkshire Prosciutto - I can eat far more of it than is healthy or advisable.
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Blue Heron Farm Cajeta - that stuff is magic in a jar.
- Cheese-y Nickname: Babybel, because I think I'm currently the youngest cheesemonger.
- Favorite Milk Type: I love them all, but a disproportionate amount favorite cheeses are made with goat milk.
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Tumalo Farms Pondhopper because I'm bright and cheery and a little sassy.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: I love coming into work and getting to make people happy every single day. The snacks don't hurt either.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I discovered Antonelli's when I moved to Hyde Park my junior year of college and fell in love - the shop was filled not only with cheese, but with kind, happy people who seemed to really love their jobs. I'm also excited to support small businesses.
- Other Hobbies: Cooking and eating, reading, drinking dark beer, listening to music, writing, sharing stories with friends and strangers alike, and trying to make the most out of living in Austin.
Having recently gotten my Massage Therapy License, I'm not surprised at all I've found myself in a cheese shop! Both require a level of passion i've always let help guide me through life. combined with a lot of travel over the last few years, always looking for something... I knew I wanted to focus on something important. I started home brewing, trying to cook more food( even if it was pizza) but always headed towards a life full of quality! so here I am, always learning from others, my mistakes, and my accomplishments. Craft skills interest me so much, be it wine, beer, cheese, chocolate, massage, making a mix drink, whatever! Even if i can't do it, or fully understand, I really do appreciate the art, and thats why I'm here now.
- Favorite Cheese: I can honestly say this will always be changing, but as of the time I'm typing this, I love Dante, Challahocker, CB Stilton, any of the goat goudas we have, and CKCs Midnight Chèvre.
- Favorite Pairing: A hoppy IPA with Stilton to cut the floral notes.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: I'd love some grassy fresh chevre and something with a sharp bite with a maple beer and chocolate drizzled with olive oil and sea salt!
- Dream Trip: I would love to travel the world! I want to go to Spain to see Gaudis' work and go to the Salvidor Dali theater and museum - while eating and drinking the best cheese and drink offerings.
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: I enjoy our Blue Heron Farm cajeta, and the constantly rotating beer wall makes me happy!
- Cheese-y Nickname: For now, Frambo and Francers have been given out thanks to a couple co workers. While these aren't "Cheesey" per say, they were said while under the influence of cheese for sure!
- Favorite Milk Type: For now, goat.
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Dante because I'm trippy like the rind, start off subtle but have an in-depth flavor when finishing.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: It is honestly a soul satisfying thing being able to "break bread" with new people everyday. I love getting to share something I enjoy with people, but more so, having my mind opened by our customer to products they love!
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: From the opening of Antonelli's Cheese Shop, I would go in and just feel mystified. It was few years before I thought, "Why am I anywhere but Antonellis!?" and the rest will shortly be history!
- Other Hobbies: I like to brew beer! Find new music, and then juggle to it. I'm building a chicken coop, and like getting into DIY stuff like that. While it's probably not classified as a hobby, I definitely consider drinking lots of coffee everyday as a hobby to me...
Several years ago I sought out the opportunity to spend a summer living and working with dairy farmers in the Austrian Alps. There, I was surrounded each day by happy cows, beautiful mountains and wonderful food, and I enjoyed learning about making cheese, butter, buttermilk and other dairy products. During this time I realized how much hard work goes into artisanal products. I learned to appreciate not only the products, but also to admire the dedication necessary to produce them. Upon my arrival in Austin I discovered Antonelli's and was immediately taken by their passion for cheese and food in general. I am excited to be part of this great team and hope to see you all at one of our events at the cheese house or around town.
- Favorite Cheese: Walser Stolz
- Favorite Pairing: Melted Raclette cheese with cornichons and schnapps
- Ideal Cheese Plate: right now my ideal cheese plate would include some fresh, tangy Chevre, and a piece of Pleasant Ridge Reserve, with dark rye bread
- Dream Trip: I have been dreaming of going to Japan for a long time. But since I am new to Texas, I wouldn't mind a Texas road trip to see the Marfa lights and the landscape of West Texas.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: La Querica Prosciutto
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: INNA Apricot Jam
- Cheese-y Nickname: I just found out about a cheese that had my name in it – Evalon!
- Favorite Milk Type: fresh, cold, unpasteurized cow milk
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: an alpine Cheese made in the Alps, just the thought of being in the mountains with that stunning view and fresh air makes me happy!
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Being surrounded by people that are passionate about quality food & being able to learn and share knowledge every day
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I love the welcoming atmosphere and true passion that you can feel at ACS, and also - who wouldn't want to work with cheese everyday?
- Other Hobbies: reading, cooking & thinking/talking about food, enjoying sunny days outdoors (Austrian winters I don't miss you!)
I've been living in ATX for over 15 years and have seen this wonderful city grow into a mecca for cuisine and locally produced artisanal foods, as well as become a leader in sustainability. After working in the hospitality field for many years, I decided I needed to find a specialized area of expertise that would make use of my experience and talents. After working with Dos Lunas for a couple of years, I learned that great products are made right here in the Central Texas area. Antonelli's was a natural fit as they thrive on providing education, fantastic customer service, and great cheese.
- Favorite Cheese: Petite Epicea or 2 yr comte
- Favorite Pairing: Brie with Granny Smith Apples
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Pure Luck Chevre, Marcel Petite 2 Year Comte, Petite Epicea, Morbier, and CKC Baby blue
- Dream Trip: Hiking and Fishing in Costa Rica
- Cheese-y Nickname: Sweet Cheeseus
- Favorite Milk Type: If I could be a cheese I would be: Blue cheese. Funky and complex
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Helping people broaden their cheese palates
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: To be surrounded by like-minded individuals who have a passion for cheese!
- Other Hobbies: Hiking, camping, Texas Master Naturalist, fishing, traveling, and volunteering
Cheesemonger in Training
Cheesemonger in Training
I’ve recently relocated to Austin from Very North Texas, like 10 minutes south of Oklahoma, where I finished my undergraduate art degree. I was living in a tiny, post-industrial town with little in the way of farm-fresh or ethically sourced foods, craft beer selections, or places to go on weekends. Austin’s access to farm to table food is exciting for someone who loves to cook and eat, and Antonelli’s immediately appealed to me with its locally and ethically sourced products. I used to be kind of averse to trying new foods, but I spent a month in New Mexico cultivating a love of spicy foods and two months in Japan eating things I could neither recognize nor pronounce, and now I’m a fairly adventurous eater! So working in a cheese shop with a frequently rotating selection of exciting edibles really appeals to me! I also love beer and cider, so I love taking home a cheese orphan or two and picking up a bottle of something new to try whenever I get the chance.
- Favorite Cheese: Pure Luck’s Cracked Pepper Chevre
- Favorite Pairing: 1655 Gruyere with a porter
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Probably Goat Gouda, Cave Aged Marisa, and Bayley Hazen blue cheese with apricots and a red IPA
- Dream Trip: Road Trip! From here, to New Mexico, to California, up the coast to Portland and then Seattle, all the way to Canada! Eating, meeting up with friends, and photographing all the way, of course.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Cranberry Mustard. HOW IS IT SO GOOD
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Dodge City Salame
- Favorite Milk Type: If I'm drinking it: unpasteurized! Because I’m lactose intolerant! If I'm eating it in the form of cheese then it's gotta be goat.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Sharing samples with customers! Come taste cheese with me!
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I wanted to work somewhere that focused on local, ethical, and delicious foods, and Antonelli’s is just that! I love our focus on educating people about the wide, wonderful world of cheese, and I love the friendly, laid-back atmosphere of the shop.
- Other Hobbies: Film photography, camping, climbing, and board games
Cheesemonger in Training
Your Love of Cheese Here! If you want to be a part of our team, check out the employment page of our website for current positions. Look forward to tasting and talking cheese with you!