I grew up in various towns in Delaware County (colloquially known as Delco), PA before moving to Pittsburgh in 2012 for college. I’m not really sure when my passion for artisan cheeses started, but I know I was desperate to be in the specialty department when I was hired at [redacted grocery chain] in 2016. What I love about cheese is how much complexity comes from so few ingredients, how every wheel of cheese is different (even when it's the same cheese), how radically different cheeses can be made with the same milk. There is so much to learn and so much great cheese to eat!
Fun fact: Andy and I started working at said grocery store on the same day! He was in specialty and I was a cashier. Eventually I worked my way over to his department, starting my journey as a cheesemonger.
When I’m not working, I enjoy playing music in my bands the Zells and Common Loon, recording a podcast with my friends Roman and Chelsea called the No Judgment Zone, and dedicating too much of my free time to Philadelphia sports teams. Go Birds.
Cheesemonger and Buyer, ACS Certified Cheese Professional
I was born in Pittsburgh and have lived here all my life. True fact: I hated cheese growing up. Of course, that was wrong, but my older brother would eat awful processed “cheese” by the block and the smell haunts me to this day. I blame him for turning me off to cheese, but he also got me my first job in cheese. So I suppose this is a story of my brother’s redemption, which is not where I intended for this to go.
My first job in cheese was at a grocery store now owned by the largest company in the world (I think we all know what I’m talking about.) There, I first ate Basque sheep’s milk cheese, and fell in love with cheese. I haven’t looked back.
I was lucky enough to get hired at Chantal’s in early 2019. It is definitely a privilege to be a part of bringing great cheese to Pittsburgh.
I am also in the band Cruel Intentions. I play the bass. I used to slap the bass, but Paul Rudd ruined that.
Cheese eater, Owner
You know nothing, Jon Snow.
I did not grow up in a food-centric culture, but that's not to say we didn't eat good food. My mom bakes the best apple pie. My dad makes ice cream that we would eat over waffles for Christmas breakfast (and still do!) There's a family recipe for banana bread that's delicious. But in between the holidays and special occasions, I ate a lot of overcooked meats, dry sandwiches, and tons of peanut butter. I liked those things.
I started branching out in college (Hail to Pitt!) eating medium rare hamburgers with blue cheese. But it was still too many chicken strips and bland honey mustard until I moved to New York City.
My whole world changed. I started working at Balthazar Bakery where I learned that everything good was butter; croissants, brioche, tartines. I met a French woman. I married her. I ate more butter. I learned about cheese. Found out I was a sucker for hard, aged, nutty ones. We visited France and ate more cheese. While in France, I made that family recipe banana bread, substituting crème fraîche for the sour in cream in the recipe – out of necessity. It was better. I knew nothing.
Owner, ACS Certified Cheese Professional
I was born and raised in Lyon, France. Despite the fact that I grew up in a big city, I travelled a lot with my parents, which is how I started discovering what cheese is all about. On our travels, we would visit creameries and farms, buying cheese directly from the producers. Once, when I was three or four years old, we visited the Alps and, on our way home, stopped to buy a Tomme de Savoie. Without my parents noticing, I discretely nibbled on the wheel, eating half of the cheese by the time we got home! My parents were not happy. But I was!
I moved to the US after high school, attending Santa Barbara City College for communications. Upon graduation, I moved from California to New York City. It was there that I got my first job in cheese, working at Greene Grape Provisions in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I was hooked. I knew it was the only thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Only, I didn't love New York. Just the cheese. Pittsburgh would be the place I would call home.
I opened this shop because I love food, especially cheese. It is always new and versatile, always something exciting to learn about it, something delicious to cook it in. You can never get bored! I think it just makes people happy to eat cheese, and if I can be a part of bringing a little joy to someone, there is nothing better. Cheese is social and convivial. It really brings people together and that's why I love it.