A New Chapter...
They’re often hard. This week, we say farewell to our wholesale director Alex, who has been with us for over six years. As you may recall, we unexpectedly lost team member Dick about a month ago. Both Alex and Dick were hired the same day over 6 years ago and both have brought us so much joy. While we know it isn’t the same, it’s still a bit sad for our business and feels like the end of an era. We looked so different as a company when they first started, and both helped us grow into the (much better) company we are today. That said, we are so excited to send Alex off to run wholesale for one of our fave cheesemakers (aren’t they all?!), Rogue Creamery in Oregon. Although born and raised in Texas, Alex came to us from the west coast and has been itching to get back for some time now. So this is an amazing opportunity for him. (After all, if he HAS to leave us to go anywhere, we’re thrilled that it’s to work for the only American cheesemaker to ever win World’s Best Cheese!) Alex started as a production cheesemonger turned Wholesale Director. Along the way, he got his Certified Cheese Professional title, competed in the Cheesemonger Invitational, attended the Fancy Food Show in San Fran and multiple American Cheese Society conferences, and even got to travel Europe with the Essex Street Cheese team. Oh! And don't forget that he's chronicled his journeys meeting cheesemakers and repping them across Texas. Make sure to follow his ongoing cheese adventures on his Instagram page @fromageforyou. Alex - it sucks to say goodbye in times when we can't give you the biggest bear hug. Simply, we will miss you.
And as we start a new chapter and a new year, we welcome David Rhodes as our new Director of Wholesale. It is always rewarding when we can hire from within, and David most recently served as our Beverage Purchaser in our retail shop, as well as received his Certified Cheese Professional title earlier this fall. David is already chomping at the bit (hah- he probably cringed reading that...after all, he’s a pretty even keeled dude) but we know he is eagerly ready for his chance to grow our company in a new way, represent artisan makers in a more profound way (we sell a lot more cheese through wholesale), and forge new relationships with current and future wholesale partners. David moves from the Cheese Shop to the Warehouse - good luck settling in friend! Follow his ongoing cheese journeys on Instagram at @thecurdherder.
Big Annual (Virtual) Beer & Cheese Pairing - JAN 8 ALMOST SOLD OUT! .....You’ve waited for it all since last December 2019, and - in its 10th year! - it’s finally here (albeit delayed). We welcome back one of our fave events of the year, our annual (512)Brewing & Antonelli’s Cheese Pairing to benefit Slow Food Austin! We'll be talking through and tasting 6 different featured beers, each paired with a cheese (for a total of 6 cheeses). Plus, we love fun flavor combinations and will throw in some other food pairing bites like jams and fruits. Following Slow Food principles, we’ll be spotlighting as many local artisans as we can, including breads from Abby Jane Bakeshop, pate from Casero, preserves from Confituras, Sheena’s Pickles, and SRSLY Chocolate.
Slow Food Austin reconnects people with the food they eat. Their educational initiatives, social activities, fundraising events, and community volunteer projects inspire respect for where food comes from and awakens true pleasure in eating. Tickets sold by the pair and include two 6-packs of beer, 2 cheese plates with pairing bites, and a box of bread, pate, and preserves. Folks will pick up their tasting the day of the event from their choice of either (512)Brewing in South Austin or Antonelli’s Cheese in North Central Austin. At 7pm, you'll click on the zoom link provided, surrounded at home with all your goodies, maybe your pod, and maybe socially distanced friends in the yard. Certified Cheese Professional Casie Wiginton and Owen Sawyer, Head Brewer of (512), will be leading this yearly favorite. More details and tix here.
Community Engagement & Learning Opportunities
New year, new you… right?! Or so the saying goes! I personally hit the pause button on a lot last year - and gave myself grace to do it - just to professionally keep our business afloat and personally adjust to homeschooling two elementary kids. That left little other time. This year, I’m excited to (re)prioritize and make some space for my own intentional growth. I wanted to share some opportunities on my radar that are coming up. (Wondering why these are included in your weekly cheese newsletter? Well, frankly, I’m either presenting, moderating, organized, or otherwise supporting these - personally or professionally. Hope you will too!)
Ready or Not 2021 - Jan 6-13
Launched and organized by self-proclaimed “potential seeker” Dena Jansen, this annual conference is being offered virtually and is a combination of live and on-demand presentation and talks to help you goal set, get in the right mindset, and get inspired for 2021. Get more info, check out the presenters, and get ready to get inspired. (I’m presenting, as well as taking the course myself!) It’s normally $99 but use code RONFRIENDS&FAM for 20% off registration.
History of Race, Racism, & Philanthropy in Central Texas - Jan 8 (12-1)
Part of Impact Austin’s Discovery Days, this session is FREE and open to the public. Presented by Dr. Keffrelyn Brown and Dr. Anthony Brown, co-directors of University of Texas Center for Innovation in Race, Teaching and Curriculum, this hour-long session covers the historical context of race and racism in the USA and in Austin to better understand its impact on philanthropy. Learn more about Impact Austin.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging in Action - Jan 15 (12-1)
Part of Impact Austin’s Discovery Days, this session is FREE and open to the public. Presented by Paulina Artieda, executive director of The New Philanthropists, discover the characteristics of becoming an inclusive leader and how DEIB values are essential to disrupt norms and create a cultural shift at the board table and across all leadership circles.
Food Resilience, Access, and Equity - Jan 27 & 28
This two day virtual conference has a great line-up of speakers and includes topics like the federal response to covid-19 food insecurity, food access for those experiencing homelessness, virtual food banks, and examples of innovative collaborations to feed needing communities when traditional models failed. We’re especially excited to support our own cheesemonger and educator, Carolina Mueller (President of the Central Texas Young Farmer’s Coalition) and her talk: “Beyond Allyship in the Food Movement: The Internal Work to be an Anti-Racist Actor.” Cost is $75 to attend both days but there is discounted pricing for students ($25) and also options for single-day attendance ($50). Schedule and registration at the link above. Want to attend but can’t swing it? Follow us on Instagram for a GIVEAWAY of two tickets to this virtual event.
January Schedule of Virtual Classes
Local: Our complete January schedule is here. You can search by class topic here or by date here (scroll down and click on the date). Questions? Check out our most frequently asked questions here.
Outside Austin: While we can’t ship you our cheese class plate, you CAN still take a virtual cheese tasting with us. Check out our Cheese Class in a Box, available for nationwide shipping in the continental USA. Each box has enough goodies to feed up to 4 folks (or leftovers for 1 person!), comes with a 10-min plating video, and an hour-long guided tasting led by John and me (Kendall). Folks can simply enjoy everything at their own leisure or take the included class. (Note that any orders made online now will be shipped the first week of January.) Current selections include:
Direct Links & Resources
John & Kendall
And Your Awesome Cheesemonger Team