Hooked on Cheese: Grateful for Cheese (Pun Intended)

Contributor
Our cheese guy Raymond Hook has a lot to be thankful for
Parmigiano-Reggiano

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Matt Lewis/ CCBY-SA4.0

Cheese is definitely something to be thankful for.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been reflecting on how grateful I am to have met so many incredible cheese lovers over my 33 years in the business. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all around the country for my work, getting to know passionate dairy farmers, cheesemongers, cookbook authors, specialty retailers, and distributors along the way. Over time, many of these folks have become my good friends. Today I’d like to give thanks for the people working in the forefront of the cheese world who continue to inspire me with their passion and innovation.

First things first: I wouldn’t be doing what I love today had it not been for my adoptive “family” – the folks at Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, GA. I’ve known the Little family through three generations, and their ceaseless commitment to the environment, to the ethics of running a family business, and to the quality of their cheeses is inspirational.

Then there are my NYC cheese friends (who are like my family, at this point): Tia Keenan, chef and chef fromager extraordinaire; Max McCalman, world-renowned cheese expert and award-winning author; David Grotenstein, brilliant cheese consultant; and Hy Langer, long-established local cheesemonger. These cheese professionals are all on the cutting edge of their respective fields, and I applaud their dedication to “pushing the cheese envelope.”

While New York City is my home these days, I’m grateful for my cheese pals from around the country as well. In San Francisco, there’s Jennifer Gillis, cheese specialist, who against all odds has overcome daunting health challenges this year. Also in SF, there’s Gordon Edgar from Rainbow Market, whose new book is bound to forever change how we think about cheddar! In Tampa, FL, my good pal Matt Bonano continues to spread the word on cheese; his cheese shop Brooklyn South has garnered rave reviews across the board. In Atlanta, Debbie Peterson’s energy and love of cheese keeps Cypress Grove Chevre running; in Chicago, Kelly Cosgrove has proved an invaluable resource and friend at Fortune Gourmet; and all the way up in Milwaukee, my new friend Erin Clarke writes a blog, WellPlated.com, that showcases both her wit and her love of cheese.

I also want to thank my co-writer Madeleine James, who adds so much to these stories. Her help is invaluable. She also manages our brokerage and demo companies…she’s a busy woman.

I know I have left out so many people I’m grateful for in the cheese world: Greg, Emily, Howard, Bryan, Brad and Mere, to name just a few. You are all important to me and important to the industry!

What more can I say? Cheese has been very, very good to me.

Related Links
Hooked on Cheese: L’Etivaz: Cheese of the AlpsHooked on Cheese: Three Butters You Need to KnowHooked on Cheese: 3 English Cheeses Everyone Should Know Hooked on Cheese: Nettle Meadow's KunikHooked on Cheese: An Interview with Artisanal's Max McCalman