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.
- Favorite Cheese: As if I could pick just one?! It really depends on my mood, the season and what taste sensation I'm craving at the moment. That being said... Red Hawk, Dancing Fern, Sophia, Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Bohemian Blue always put a smile on my face.
- Favorite Pairing: Red Hawk on a Maple Castleton Cracker with a Widow's Kiss cocktail to wash it down.
- Dream Trip: A toss up between a Neal's Yard Dairy inspired tour of the UK or anything involving baby Nubian goats or just baby any goat
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Blue Heron Farm Bourbon Cajeta
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Robert Lambert's Raspberry Champagne Jam on a Dick Taylor Fleur de Sel Chocolate Bar
- Cheese-y Nickname: DJ Creme Fraiche--my choice samples get the party started! Woop! Woop!
- Favorite Milk Type: They're all delightful, but I do love my goats!
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Coolea, because I'm sweet, a bit nutty and good with whisky!
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: Amazing atmosphere-- who wouldn't want to spend their days surrounded by the best cheese and cheese-lovers in town?
- Other Hobbies: Classic Cocktails--making them, drinking them and geeking out far too much about their history; Record collecting (especially old Bollywood); Vermouth! I make my own & am always looking for flavors to play with; Film (see you at Terror Tuesday!)
I fell for Austin when visiting years ago and initially moved here to be the lead sausage-maker at local charcuterie-producer and "butcher shop", Dai Due. I always stayed in touch with Kendall and John, however, knowing I'd be returning to my foremost culinary passion (ahem, cheese) soon enough and wanting to work specifically for such an enterprising and creative business as Antonelli's - clearly, it all worked out! All the honing of my palate throughout my food-loving career has led me to a greater appreciation of the process behind and applications of these gorgeous products we sell at ACS. I look forward to using it to help our customers plan their dinner and holiday parties- I am so looking forward to seeing y'all in the shop!
- Favorite Cheese: These days it would have to be Pure Luck Feta- so simple, but such a gorgeous representation of seasonality and of the high quality of a local cheesemaker's milk.
- Favorite Pairing: La Quercia Speck Americano with INNA Jam's Seascape Strawberry preserves and Manchester from Consider Bardwell Farm...plus a bottle of Tripel B from local brewer Adelbert's.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Saint Maure, Dancing Fern, and Pecorino Riserva- these sunny Austin days have me craving fruity, grassy, piquant flavors.
- Dream Trip: Back to Ireland! I went for the first time last year and was lucky (ahem: pushy) enough to visit every cheese shop in every town we stopped in, but a cheesemaking apprenticeship in County Cork would be a dream come true.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: I am completely smitten with Katz's Rock Hill Olive Oil: peppery, just buttery enough, and with notes of bitter greens, it brightens fresh cheeses and helps merge them with the dishes I make at home. I go through a great deal of this stuff!
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Dick Taylor's Fleur de Sel chocolate bar: who doesn't love salty-sweet combos?! I have loved pairing the Fleur de Sel bar with salty, firmer blues like La Peral or Bayley Hazen in our cheese classes.
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: hmmm...Ticklemore. Earthy and quiet at first, but packs a bite, is zesty, sweet, and gets along with people!
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Being the messenger: learning the stories behind the cheesemakers and their herds and sharing those tales with my customers.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: The contagious passion of all who work here. I've been told that we mongers are a "hyper" group and it's true: it's a career that, if you love it, you get entirely enthused and inspired by.
- Other Hobbies: Reading, writing, photography, scouting out swimming holes,hiking with my dogs, traveling as much as can be, limitless dinner parties with my friends.
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?)
- Favorite Cheese: Dante and Rush Creek Reserve
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Kunik, Bent River Camembert, Red Hawk, L'Amuse Gouda. I think I just used this as an extension of the favorite cheese question.
- Dream Trip: Spending a week in San Sebastián, Spain immersing myself in the food culture.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: La Quercia Acorn-Fed Tamworth Prosciutto—mind-blowingly good.
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Savannah Bee Company Tupelo Honey. I think I just used this as an extension of the favorite pairing question. I get to provide unfair answers to unfair questions!
- Cheese-y Nickname: In the spirit of the Cookie Monster—the Cheese Monster. My cheese taste is equally non-discriminating. I'll eat anything and everything.
- Favorite Milk Type: Like most of these I find it hard to choose one, but sheep was my first love.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I wanted to work for something that I was passionate about with people who were doing the same. It was also an environment where I felt like I could always be learning.
- Other Hobbies: Film, Music, Sports, Aimlessly Yet Intently Reading Wikipedia
My passion for cheese has grown with my passion for beer. My Dad began brewing when I was about seven years of age, so it doesn't make it difficult to understand why I started brewing about a year and a half ago. The homebrew store in Austin also happened to sell cheesemaking kits and the ball started rolling from there. In pursuit of expanding my knowledge of cheese, I took a cheese making workshop with Pure Luck Dairy in Dripping Springs in January 2011 and have been making basket chevre anytime I get the chance ever since. I continued to drop off samples of my goat cheese until the cheese shop hired me, and I am thoroughly excited to be apart of the team and cannot wait to help you friendly folks with some cheese and beer pairings. Cheers and see you soon!
- Favorite Cheese: Vermont Butter and Cheese Co. Coupole
- Favorite Pairing: Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout with Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue
- Ideal Cheese Plate: All goat’s milk cheeses, including Coupole, Kunik, Chevre d'Or, Chevre Noir, and Montenebro. I’d also want an abundance of duck salami, speck and petite jesu, along with an assortment of berries, blackberries, raspberries and Strawberries, some pistachios
- Dream Trip: A U.S. brewery road trip with a trunk full of cheese to pair along the way.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Laguiole Bread knife
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Widmers 10 Year Cheddar with our Shallot Confit
- Cheese-y Nickname: Cheese Mongol
- Favorite Milk Type: I'd hate to be bias when it comes to cheese because I love it all but I'm obviously a sucker for the Goat. By the looks of my ideal cheese plate, I think I gave myself away with that one.
- Other Hobbies: Brewing beer, making cheese, gardening, cooking and collecting VHS tapes
Stumbling upon a Cheese Festival in Seattle in 2009, my first experience with the world of real cheese was honestly a bit overwhelming. Hoards of people in line sampling every single cheese imaginable; my palate not yet trained for the complexities of the flavors, they sadly all tasted fairly similar to me. One year later, I would be working behind the cheese counter expanding my palate. A chance job as cheesemonger at Forward Foods in Oklahoma City ignited and nurtured my passion for all things cheese. My favorite hobby became breaking into that new wheel and discussing its flavors. After a brief stint at an office job while finishing my pre-med classes, I realized that my heart is, and will forever be, in cheese. So I relocated to Austin and contacted Antonelli's Cheese Shop with hopes of possible employment. After seeing the shop and meeting with John, Kendall, and the rest of the team, I knew that the shop was the right fit for me! And lucky for me, the feelings were mutual. Come on in and let's talk cheese!
- Favorite Cheese: Pleasant Ridge Reserve. Wait, no, Dante. or Midnight Chevre. Who am I kidding, it changes minute to minute.
- Favorite Pairing: Adelbert's Tripel B and Le Marechal. This nutty and herbal pairing won my heart. It was love at first bite.
- Dream Trip: Take up Mary Quicke on her offer to visit her farm in England. Then off to Spain for goats and sheep!
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Cour-Cheverny Wine
- Cheese-y Nickname: Dreamboat Cheesedealer
- Favorite Milk Type: Though it's always been sheep, goat is starting to come out ahead.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Exposing people to the world of cheese, whether artisanal cheese in general with cheese newbies or new cheeses to those who are more experienced.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: So I could surround myself with other cheese lovers. Nothing is better than a cheese lover, other than cheese itself, of course.
- Other Hobbies: Making up new dance moves, strolling on my bike, unintentionally creating a sing-song environment (sorry, everyone).
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
It's not much of a secret: I can barely boil water, and a morning in which I don't burn the toast is considered a good one. We've all heard it said that those who can't do, teach. Well, in my case, those who can't do, surround themselves with those who can. So I've spent the better part of my life working with talented preparers of fine meals. From steakhouses in Oklahoma to oyster bars in Laguna Beach, to French bistros in Minneapolis, I've shared a passion for fine food and wine, gracious hospitality, and life-long learning with the smartest, funniest, best-traveled and all-around-most-awesome chefs, servers, and bartenders anyone could hope to meet. I put myself through college (Go, Anteaters!) working in restaurants; however, it was a community I left behind (for a while) as I began a career in marketing and communications, finished grad school, and climbed the corporate ladder. But it always felt like something was missing.
I returned to Texas in 2012 to be closer to family (and leave those long Minnesota winters behind), and I began to reconsider what I wanted from my career and in my life: I loved working with people in educational and advisory roles; I loved being part of a close-knit industry and wanted to contribute to an organization that was beloved and well-respected in the community; and, as a lifelong learner, I wanted opportunities for continuing education. Well, clearly, that adds up to...cheese! I never expected to become a cheesemonger, but no one with whom I've shared the news is entirely surprised. They know that I follow my heart and they know that "what do you do?" is the wrong question so have learned to ask me "what's your next adventure?" Stop by the shop and join me on the cheese-y journey!
- Favorite Cheese: Jacobs & Brichford's Ameribella
- Favorite Pairing: I love a warm-weather pairing of fresh cheeses and fruits. One combo that never fails to surprise and delight is CKC Farms Fresh Chevre with sweet Tupelo honey and juicy summer peaches.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: A super-funky abundance of washed rind cheeses -- the stinkier, the better. If the plate doesn't smell like a barn full of gym socks, I'll be disappointed.
- Dream Trip: I'd love to spend many many moons eating and drinking my way across the Iberian Peninsula. A trip that kicks off in Marseilles and ends with my toes in the sand somewhere near Lagos sounds like a thousand kinds of heaven.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Rougié Duck Fat...need I say more?
- Cheese-y Nickname: ¡Queso Bandito!
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Kunik because I've heard it described as "unique, voluptuous, subtle, refined, bright, formidable, and perfect for any gathering that includes champagne."
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: I love guiding cheese newbies on a tour of our case and am equally delighted when diehard cheese freaks rush in to try a new product they've just read about in our newsletter. Everytime someone walks out with a huge smile, I know I'm in the right place.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I evolved from customer to class attendee to volunteer, I realized there's some kind of magic in the air here. I love the people, the cheese, and the awesome vibe and am grateful every day that I get to be a part of this amazing cheese-y community.
- Other Hobbies: I regularly geek out on documentary films, art, architecture, theater, and literary fiction. I also really enjoy my not-particularly-demanding yoga practice.
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'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.
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 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.
My background in cheese dates back to when I was a youngster, about 22 years old. I am now nearly 24, hardy harr harr…. I found cheese through my sommelier friends in California. I tasted farmstead cheese, for the first time at a farmers market in Marin County and spoke with a young man about cheese making for the first time when I was still walking dogs for a living, which is a great deal of fun, but I noticed a special twinkle in his eyes. That next week I set out on a “cheese education exploration.” I found the College of Marin and Cowgirl Creamery in the same week. I signed up for “Starter Cultures,” as my first artisan cheese making class and applied for a job at Cowgirl Creamery as a Farmers Market Salesgirl. But alas, I had a trip home to ATX planned in the first few weeks of that prospect and I didn’t make the cut. Fortunately, I landed a job few months later as an assistant cheese maker! After receiving my “Artisan Cheese Makers Certification” from COM and working for Cow Girl Creamery for about 8 months I have learned a lot about the hard work that goes into making delicious cheese and I do my best to let the public know what amazing products they are buying from people who have shed sweat, blood and tears for their cheese to be tasted and appreciated by audiences that love and understand what it takes to make American Artisan Cheese.
- Favorite Cheese: Holey moly, any cooked curd with a bit of age on it and some washing: Gruyere or other appenzeller style cheese, especially with crunch make my day.
- Favorite Pairing: Recently I found that Manchego and the Bourbon and Brown Sugar and Peach Preserve (Confituras) go way too well together! Add in a nice Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir and I’m in heaven.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Oh Lordy, it changes by the week if not more often. Definitely, I need: 1 fresh or soft ripened, 1 washed rind, one/two hard cheeses and a blue cheese
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Gah lee! My weakness is for The Chocolate Maker’s Studio: Salted Chocolate, it’s too tempting with any soft sheep’s milk cheese like “Simply Sheep” or “Summer Snow.” But, if I’m in a savory mood I need Sour Cherry Mustard on toasted bread and Sculpin IPA.
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Aged cheese never loses, ever! For instance, Challerhocker/Der Sharffe Maxxe (Switzerland), Pleasant Ridge Reserve (Wisconsin), or my personal favorite Brobander Gouda (Holland) .
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Washed rind because I love bathing but no matter what I’m always the stinky kid, due to my love for the outdoors and running around chasing things, of course.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Well, I get to meet a lot of like-minded people who love cheese as much as I do, whether they be fellow cheese mongers or cheese buyers the love and devotion for fresh and delicious food is always present.
- Other Hobbies: I love to play outside, no matter the heat or humidity! Whether it be swimming or playing a game with friends and a ball I’m always having a great time in Austin!
How does an empty nester with a background in art history, psychology, religion and Carl Jung become a Cheesemonger? If I were being cheese-y I would say I’ve ripened, matured and aged into it. It began years ago in Paris when I sank my teeth into a crusty baguette (bought off the street) spread with Brie bought at the local fromagerie. The divine simplicity of that bite rocked my world and I was to visit that cheese shop at what could be considered an embarrassing regularity. The cheese beckoned but so did the experience – the warmth of the shop and the pure pleasure of sharing a sliver of life with the impassioned owner. I went to Paris to study art but the local culture and way of life left an indelible imprint. I returned to Texas and began an art career in NYC. The art scene was extraordinary and the city as tasty and agreeable as Paris. Fast-forward a few years after NYC (ok… 3 amazing boys and 16 cherished family years later) and we move to Austin, a culinary destination in its own delicious right. I seriously dabble in graduate degrees both in Psychology and Religion and at the same time discover Slow Food, (why did I not know about Slow Food before 2010?). With fervor I travel to Bra, the birthplace of Slow Food, and attend Slow Cheese. There I am literally swept away by cheese and tales of cheese. Turns out I am drawn to the tradition of small-scale artisan production and producers that with hand and heart lovingly cultivate product from farm to shelf. So, clearly life at Antonelli’s, the spot where I can get my daily dose of cheese and support artisans was the next logical step. For me Antonelli’s is a place where art, humanity, the ideals of Jung and Slow Food all coalesce. There is so much to learn about life via cheese . . . come in and taste!
- Favorite Cheese: The last cheese I tasted!
- Favorite Pairing: Brabander Goat Gouda with a bit of dark sea salted chocolate, heavenly!
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Bent River, Oma, Cabbot Clothbound Cheddar and Dante, a creamy, pungent, sharp and sweet dream – add some fig and black tea jam - yum!
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Truffle Honey, just open the jar and it will be your fav too!
- Cheese-y Nickname: I have no idea. I am searching for a nickname and am taking suggestions….mamma cheese because I am the oldest cheesemonger?
- Favorite Milk Type: A toss up between goat, sheep, cow and buffalo. Who am I kidding? I like them all!
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Oma, because in my dreams I am balanced in character with a hint of funk and stink yet tender and earthy on the outside and then delectably soft and creamy on the inside, sometimes even oooeygooey. . .
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: the back stories . . .the fervor and passion of the amazing producers, the stories that led each cheesemonger to Antonelli’s and the stories behind each cheese lover that comes to the shop.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I love cheese and all that pairs with cheese. I’ve loved Antonelli’s since it opened and after going to Slow Cheese knew exactly why. I wanted to be a part of the amazing team behind the shop. I want to support artisan producers and keep learning.
- Other Hobbies: travel, running, reading, writing film, art, exploring restaurants and markets, cooking and all things chocolate.
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 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.
Hello! I recently started working at Antonelli’s and I feel so lucky to be here surrounded by cheesemongers and crazy amazing cheese!! I’ve been in dream mode since my interviews. No pinching please! ;o) Prior to Antonelli’s I worked for Whole Foods Market in the Austin metro area with the majority of my nine years in the Specialty department. I enjoyed pairing cheese with beer or wine, helping folks with party planning or finding the right cheese for a special recipe. Here at Antonelli’s I am able to continue with my cheese experimentation while collaborating with chefs and other cheese enthusiasts. There is something so magical about that!
- Favorite Cheese: Pure Luck Chevre. Creamy and tangy! So versatile as an ingredient or all by itself. Proud to support local!
- Favorite Pairing: Blue Cheese and dates! You can stuff the dates with Smokey blue cheese or spread gorgonzola dolce on pieces of date cake. It’s the classic salt with sugar combo.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Delice de Bourgogne cow milk soft ripened/ Ossau- Iraty sheep milk semi soft / Smokey Blue Cheese from Rogue Creamery (cow milk).
- Dream Trip: Pure Luck Goat Farm in Dripping Springs
- Other Favorite Shop Product: Blue Heron’s Bourbon Cajeta. Oh the endless possibilities with this tastiness!
- Go-To-Product To Evoke Customer Happy Dance: Calabro’s Hand Dipped Ricotta! It’s so visually appealing with its colorful tin and fluffy hand-dipped cone. The consistency so smooth and the flavor like no other ricotta you have experienced! A must try!
- Cheese-y Nickname: Cheeser
- Favorite Milk Type: Cow
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: Gruyere 6 months
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I wanted to continue my education and hands on cheese experience. What an opportunity to work and learn with a growing team of cheese warriors.
- Other Hobbies: Gardening, music, and movies.
Originally from Lawrence, KS, I moved to Austin in 2011 and have loved every minute of it. Being in Austin and surrounded by so many wonderful restaurants, makes it very hard not to have an appreciation for all things food related. As my professional career was growing in events management, I kept having a strong pull into the food world. I’ve always loved trying new flavors, learning about food and how it was sourced and started to realize that was really where my passion was. The opportunity to work at Antonelli’s was something I couldn’t pass up and once I met all of the team members, I knew I had found the perfect fit for me. In my role as Events Cheesemonger, I’m excited to get to know all of you, help with your events, and start talking cheese.
- Favorite Cheese: Always evolving but Challerhocker takes the prize this time.
- Favorite Pairing: Ripe Summer Snow with a nice wine makes me a happy girl.
- Ideal Cheese Plate: Oh man. One that consists of Gouda, Bleu Cheese, and Brie with some Marcona Almonds, an Easy Tiger baguette, Pinto Grigio and I’m in heaven.
- Dream Trip: Visiting wineries and eating cheese in the Italian and French countryside.
- Other Favorite Shop Product: American Spoon's Apple & Onion Jam
- Cheese-y Nickname: Currently in progress...
- Favorite Milk Type: Goat
- If I Were A Cheese, I'd Be: At the moment, Brie. A soft cheese that always makes you smile.
- My Favorite Thing About Being A Cheesemonger: Definitely being surrounded by people, from customers to producers, with a shared passion of artisanal cheeses and pairings.
- Why I wanted To Work At ACS: I love all things cheese related. I’ve visited Antonelli’s many times since moving here and always enjoyed the friendly and teachable atmosphere of the shop. Being surrounded by positive people who genuinely love what they do is a very refreshing environm
- Other Hobbies: Eating a lot, singing, baking and exploring Austin as much as possible.