Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our New Cheese Family

Something about sunny September (yes, it's September) days like today makes me want to reminisce about the days spent parsing through resumes & interviews at Summit (in the early stages of my soy matcha addiction) with the goal of building a kick ass cheese-loving team. Slowly divulging details about Mission Cheese searching for the passionate few. Following interviews & careful selection, there was cheese university held amongst final construction details & dusty bar stools. The frazzled professor (me? frazzled? Nooooooo) did her best to pour all the love & energy out on the table in hopes that this daring team of cheesers would eat it up. It worked! Well, for the most part (we won't talk about the other part).

Ahhh...the good old days of early 2011.

Now as we enter September, it feels like a new family has been created. Not one to replace any other sort of family (obviously Mom, Dad, & are the original & irreplaceable...I promise), but a seriously tight knit crew of characters from all over (we have Florida, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, SoCal & NorCal in the house) that have come together in the name of American artisan cheese. In the first 4.5 months we have created bonds that I believe will last a life-time. We have laughed (hysterically), cried (only a few times), danced, burned arms, cut fingers, broken several wine glasses & ramekins, laughed (again...hysterically), mopped floors, shared hugs & our fair share of fist pumps. It is a team that I am truly honored to be a part of, so without further a-do...

Meet Liz! Interested in all things related to good food, it is no surprise that Liz is a natural cheesemonger. She is crazy intelligent & has experience working with the James Beard Foundation, the Oregon Truffle Festival, & most recently a killer butcher shop in SF's Bernal Heights known as Avedanos. Thank heavens she was on the free market & interested cheese. She has kept me sane in times of complete chaos and treats Lil MC like it is her own. I cannot imagine Mission Cheese without her, or her bad-ass sleeve tattoo. Give it up for Lizzie!

Meet Steve! Coming to us from Ann Arbor, Michigan Steve was the first person I interviewed for a position at MC & I knew from the moment I heard him talk about taking part in the complete decimation of a full wheel of Montgomery's cheddar that he was a perfect fit. Also incredibly intelligent (you will notice there is a theme here...lucky Lil MC) with cat like reflexes Steve has held the shop together in the craziest of moments (I recall an evening in the first week or so when Steve & I were the only people manning the ship...whoa). He is the brain behind Chedd or Alive. Steve is the bomb.

Meet Kendra! Kendra was the first to email me in November 2010 telling me about her love form cheese that developed while living in Paris and asking for an opportunity to interview. I began the interviewing process some 4 months later & of course it was meant to be. (How do you say no to that smile?) Between studying for her graduate degree here in SF (smarty pants! see...I told you) and mongering at Mission Cheese, Kendra is diligently working toward eating everything on 7x7's top 100 things to eat in SF list. It's dedication, and she's nailing it. We love Kendra!!!

Meet Lindsay! Lindsay came to MC in a pinch...on a Saturday amidst a mad rush, she answered a call for help (placed by Steve) & magically appeared to rescue Lil MC. She killed it in the dish pit (washing dishes...yep, favorite part of the job), and was pretty much hired on the spot for her superhero abilities. She is a Bay Area native, a crossword wiz (along with Steve), and has a smile that is known to melt cheese. She's not smiling in this you'll have to come see for yourself. Aha! A teaser.

Meet Eric (also known as DJ Lo-Fi)! After moving to SF from NYC, Eric was looking to change it up a bit and focus his work efforts on food. He contacted me via Facebook (yes, that's right...Facebook), came in for a sandwich, and the rest is history. He started his first shift by bringing the team some homemade pate (I don't lie), and immediately won our hearts. His height & muscles are also very useful when organizing small spaces, and his ability to describe cheese (and food in general) is remarkable. Eric has also made me laugh when in the most horrible/overwhelmed mood. E...I think it's for essential.

Meet Patty! She won me over with an Ode to Cheese that made me smile for days. Patty, also a Bay Area native graduated with a science degree from NYU, returned to the bay and had the urge to work in the kitchen. We share Patty with Bar Tartine where she is honing her skills in one of the most talented kitchens in the city. I am often baffled by how she remains standing and how remarkable her name is for nicknames (Patty-melt, Patty-cakes, Patticus Finch, Patty Sajak...amazing). We are lucky to have her knife skills & her ability for cheesey prose.

Last, but certainly not lease, meet Sarah! (I know...we are working on a nickname, more on that later) Recently moving from Chicago & originally from SoCal (she grew up with Kendra), Sarah has been a natural addition to our family. Kendra calls her Sars...which then blossoms into Sarsie, Sarsipie, etc, but we are all a bit hesitant to call our new family member Sars (haha). We'll figure something out. I wouldn't mind having a double most times anyways. She has the most delightful energy & she is a lover of cheese. We are so happy to have her!

These are the wonderful people that have kept Oliver & I sane(ish) during the madness. They allow us to get away for tasty dinners & afternoons on the beach (and soon a 2 day trip!) I could seriously go on for days about this crew of individuals, but my time in this comfy chair is up...have to get to the shop.

Oh...and if you're interested in a little cheese fun, our 3rd Night Cheese Event, Sheep Fever, is September 15 (next week Thursday)! We will be chatting sheep's milk cheese with the Marcia Barinaga from Barinaga Ranch & Seana Doughty from Bleating Heart. Of course, these cheeses will be paired with California wine (maybe even some beer)'s usually quite the party! There are still some tickets available & you can snag them here.

Hope to see you soon!