Years at Di Bruno Bros.: 4
Hometown: Metuchen, New Jersey
How he got into cheese: I’m a carpenter by trade, but I’ve always sidelined in food — I’ve worked as a fishmonger, a bartender. In early 2007, I walked into Di Bruno Bros. one day, and I haven’t left since. I like that there’s a vast amount of knowledge to master, kind of like working in historic restoration.
Cheese of the Moment: I’m really digging Marco Polo. It’s hard to find really well-made, delicious cheeses that have stuff in them. Marco Polo has green and black Madagascar peppercorns in Beecher’s cheddar. Otherwise, Fiore Sardo, is my favorite. That’s the one I have tattooed on my chest.
On cheese and tattoos: I tend to get things I’m really passionate about. The first tattoo was a William Blake illustration. I also have a record player, a guitar, a Poker stud, the word “showtime” across my knuckles. I mean, it’s always showtime.
Favorite kitchen implement: Ice cream maker. My fiancée Sarah bought it for me two years ago, and I just took to it. My first recipe was double-chocolate, candied-bacon ice cream. I’m trying to develop a bone marrow and spiced apricot ice cream.
Best cheese book: Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials.
On cooking: Growing up, I spent a lot of time cooking with my mom. She grew up in Puerto Rico, so she made a lot of plantains, rice and beans, and shrimp cakes, along with a lot of Italian dishes. So, I like to cook. I’ve spent the last six years teaching myself French cooking. I like to draw on techniques, then improvise. I also have a tattoo of Larousse – it’s really the only cookbook I need.
Ingredients he couldn’t live without: shallots, butter (unsalted Plugra), sea salt (Maldon), and olive oil (Olivier).
On customers: I love knowing what people are cooking at home and how they are using our products. I like taking that kind of time with people. That’s what Di Bruno Bros. is all about – the experience. It’s kind of like the Graceland of Cheese.
On Philadelphia: I love the old style way of going about your business in the Italian Market. Before refrigeration, people shopped everyday, and that’s how it is here.