I was in a beer and cheese club where I used to live. One member was a brewer, another was a monger at the local food co-op. It really opened my taste buds up to different cheeses and how much a pairing can add to the complexity and enjoyment of eating. I really enjoyed discovering new cheeses and their story. It was this experience coupled with the atmosphere and history of Di Bruno’s that led me to try my hand at cheesemongery.
What has been your favorite part of the job so far?
So far my favorite part of the job has been how much I’ve had to learn. Discovering new things and broadening the scope of knowledge makes life rich and fresh no matter what your age.
Name your top 3-5 cheeses? What are your favorite pairings?
Tough question. Stichelton paired with Otter Creek’s Stovepipe Porter for the winter. Challerchocker with Troegs Dreamweaver for the summer. I’ll finish up with Lakes Edge and a late 90’s/early 2000’s brut champagne for a special occasion.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not cheesemongering?
In my free time I enjoy reading books, mostly fiction. Riding bicycles of all kinds, and spending quality time with the people I care about.
What are your favorite foods/cuisines?
If it tastes good, I like it. I don”t play favorites.
What do you like best about Philly/Philly’s food scene?
I like how many great BYOB options there are here. I still have many to explore.
What advice would you give to someone who may be considering becoming a cheesemonger?
My advice, be open to trying everything, and remember that there is always more to learn. Perhaps most importantly, it’s our job to sell cheese. If you can’t work with customers or don’t care about putting cash in the register become a cheese critic instead.
Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years down the road?
The world laughs at those who plan.
Last meal on Earth.
First a placid scene, somewhere calm, cool and moderately lit. Miles Davis Sketches of Spain playing. A light salad with feta, and dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to start. A bottle of Carmenere and my mother’s Spanish rice with buttered bread on the side. To clarify, this dish contains beef, red peppers, sweet onions, garlic and tomato sauce. A meal unto itself. Finally, an Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art with a tall glass of Knob Creek Reserve served neat.
Lay me down to rest.