Q: What is your favorite cheese?
That is like asking me to pick a favorite child, I have to say that it changes with the seasons. Overall, I would say I love an 18-month-old Comte.
Q: Do you prefer to start your meal with cheese or do you prefer it at the end of your meal?
I love cheese at any time. For breakfast I like a European type meal — some soft cheese, fruit, and a soft-boiled egg, with a multigrain bread. If itâ€™s cocktail time we always serve cheese with some great charcuterie and condiments. And if I am having a dinner party, Iâ€™ll save it for the end of the meal.
Q: What is your favorite Beverage type?
I like good, old-fashioned, flat water.
Q: What is your favorite wine?
I personally love a full-bodied red. But white wines have a higher acidity content and tend to pair more easily with cheese.
Q: What do you think about Parimigiano Reggiano?
I love it! I like to mix it with nuts and raisins, for a quick energizing snack for my kids. I also use it almost as a spice, I add it to many of my dishes. It adds a great robust flavor. On itâ€™s own, I like to drizzle a little bit of aged balsamic vinegar to enhance the flavor.
Q: Any unusual ways you like to enjoy cheese?
I think it was pretty unusual to create the Worlds Largest Fondue! I did it on the TODAY show and we were able to donate to City Harvest enough cheese to feed 5,000 people.
Q: How do you store cheese once you get it home?
Never, never wrap it in plastic, it canâ€™t breathe. Try and wrap it in parchment paper.
Q: At what temperature is it best to serve cheese?
Always take your cheese out of the fridge about an hour before serving. Cheese needs to soften up to room temperature, so the flavors can open up.
Q: How do you recommend serving cheeses?
Serve on a round tray. Arrange clockwise from the 6 oâ€™clock point starting with the lightest, moving around to finish with the strongest. Read more Cheese Tips in the Artisanal Cheese Guide online.
Q: How did you get into the business?
I have always known that I wanted to be a chef. My family owned a small restaurant in Virginia and I loved working there. When I got older, if a successful chef invited me to visit his kitchen, I went. I took every opportunity that came to me to learn and study with the best.