History: I have a background in Fine Arts from Fordham University. Before I started at Di Bruno Bros. last winter, I worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer doing ad layout and design.
Why he became a cheesemonger: After I got laid off, I decided to get out of the office environment and pursue something I loved. My wife is Italian-American, and for our honeymoon we stayed at a dairy farm in Abruzzo where they made rustic sheep cheese. I loved it there. Before applying to Di Bruno Bros., I interned at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market, where I got to visit local cheesemakers with their buyer. I also spent six months at Cherry Grove Farm in New Jersey, assisting the cheesemaker. I did a lot of dishes!
First day on the job: I was intimidated by the sheer amount of cheese Di Bruno Bros. carries. But everyone’s collective knowledge contributes to a great learning atmosphere behind the counter, and I’ve been amazed at how quickly I’ve learned the difference between very similar cheeses.
Cheese of the moment: My coworker Leslie created a pairing with Gran Cacio and raw, thinly sliced asparagus, some lemon zest, and hot pepper oil. It tastes like spring. I also love Gubbeen, a washed rind from Ireland. I’m Irish, and my wife and I toured the dairy in West Cork on a recent trip – it’s an amazing place, truly a family farm. I emailed them before we left to see if I could arrange a tour, and when we arrived the cheesemaker and her daughter made us lunch.
When he’s not behind the counter: I’m at Earth, Bread and Brewery in Germantown – I just moved there – or I’m designing prints and T-shirts. I specialize in food-and-beer-centric illustration.
Beer or wine? Beer. I like Belgian pale ales, and I homebrew with my brothers, Tim and Austin.
For more cheese profiles, visit Madame Fromage.