Cheesemonger Invitational 2013: Meet the Mongers

by dccheese on June 23, 2013

in Cheesemakers & People,Cheesemongers & Shops,events,NY Cheese

Cheesemonger Invitational 2013

The 4th annual Cheesemonger Invitational is less than a week away! The field of mongers is the largest yet, with 54 cheesemongers from 31 cities across the US. Next Saturday, June 29, the curd glitterati gather once again in Long Island City, NY, to witness the ultimate cheese battle.

cheese by the forklift at CMI 2012

The competition begins with preliminary rounds taking place during the day. Curd lovers who purchase VIP tickets will get early access to taste the cheese bites plated by the competitors, before the final 10 are announced. The finalists then compete before the live audience in the final rounds: selling, signage, cut, wrap, and “plate from thin air,” in which the mongers will serve up the perfect cheese and beverage pairing on the spot.

Plate the Slate at CMI 2012

mongers "plate the slate" at CMI 2012

With no further ado, let’s meet the mongers for this year’s competition.

American Provisions: Mike Hanson, Boston, MA
American Provisions: Joe Quintero, Boston, MA
Brattleboro Cheese Shop & Cafe: Wendy Levy, Brattleboro, VT
Concord Cheese Shop: Brie Hurd, Concord, MA
Consider Bardwell: Poul Price, Pawlet, VT
Cowgirl Creamery: Ziggy von Frankenberg, San Francisco, CA
Cured: Jessica Beer, Boulder, CO
Di Bruno Bros.: Rich Morillo, Philadelphia, PA
Di Bruno Bros.: Sam Frank, Philadelphia, PA
Di Bruno Bros.: Matt Shankle, Philadelphia, PA
Fairfield Cheese Co.: Chris Palumbo, Fairfield, CT
Piazza Italian Market: Emily Chandler, Easton, MD
Provisions Wine: Mike Marois, Northampton, MA
Rubiner’s Cheesemongers: Kate Feuer, Great Barrington, MA
The Cheese Traveler: Eric Paul, Albany, NY
New York City*
Astoria Beer and Cheese: Mike Fisher, Astoria, NY
Bedford Cheese Shop: Kris Garrand, Brooklyn, NY
Bedford Cheese Shop: Dylan Heister, Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Larder: Gizella Otterson, Brooklyn, NY
Campbell Cheese & Grocery: Elena Santogade, Brooklyn, NY
Citarella: Enrique Palacios, New York, NY
Dean and Deluca Soho: Alex Garcia, New York, NY
Eataly: Colter Hansen, New York, NY
Formaggio Kitchen NY: Erin Carlman Weber, New York, NY
Gourmet Library: Charlie Izquierdo, Springfield, NJ
Greene Grape Provisions: Cara Warren, Brooklyn, NY
Greene Grape Provisions: Laura Heifitz, Brooklyn, NY
Lucy’s Whey: Luke Johnson, New York, NY
Lucy’s Whey: Amy Thompson, New York, NY
Murray’s Cheese: Jillian Weber, New York, NY
Murray’s Cheese: Lauren McDowell, New York, NY
Saxelby Cheesemongers: Pam Brewer, New York, NY
Sickles Market: Caitlin O’Neill, Little Silver, NJ
Stinky Bklyn: Chris Killoran, Brooklyn, NY
The Cheese Cave: Michael Vaccaro, Red Bank, NJ
Wedge: Lilith Spencer, Brooklyn, NY
Whole Foods Market Tribeca: James Birney, New York, NY
Zabar’s: Marie Colas, New York, NY
Forward Foods: Kyle Miller, Oklahoma City, OK
France 44: Benjamin Roberts, Minneapolis, MN
Pastoral: Rachel Aseltine, Chicago, IL
Pastoral: Bryan “Burnie” Bland, Chicago, IL
Standard Market: Pat McCroy, Westmont, IL
Zingerman’s: Mike White, Ann Arbor, MI
Arrowine: Katie Carter, Arlington, VA
Cheesetique: Thomas Ferraro, Alexandria, VA
St. James Cheese Company: Justin Trosclair, New Orleans, LA
Whole Foods Market Chapel Hill: Tyler Morgan, Chapel Hill, NC
Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic: Nadjeeb Chouaf, Charlottesville, VA
Bi-Rite Market: Zach Berg, San Francisco, CA
Guava, Gouda and Caviar: Ann Tuomela, Kihei, HI
Mission Cheese: Sarah Dvorak, San Francisco, CA
The Celler: Max Frederick, San Clemente, CA
Whole Foods Pacific Northwest: Frank Schuck, Seattle, WA

The action behind the counter — or on the stage, rather — is but one part of the evening’s draw. While the mongers duke it out, guests will feast on a spread of cheese and mingle with producers of some of cheese’s best friends, like McClure’s Pickles, Rick’s Picks, Bee Raw, Creminelli Fine Meats, Sullivan Street Bakery and Brooklyn Brewery. Top cheese names from Europe will also be in the house, including sponsors Neal’s Yard Dairy, Somerdale Classic English Cheese, Sheridans Cheesemongers and Rodolphe Le Meunier. The Invitational’s roster of judges includes Rodolphe le Meunier himself, author Laura Werlin, Adeline Druart of Vermont Creamery, and 2012 champion Adam Smith, now of Cellars at Jasper Hill.

Rodolphe le Meunier at CMI 2012

Rodolphe le Meunier, affineur, at CMI 2012

While NYC yet again boasts the largest cadre of competitors, the city has yet to have a win at the Invitational. Previous winners hailed from Boston (Matt Rubiner, 2010), Portland (Steve Jones, 2011) and Washington, DC (Adam Smith, 2012). Which region will take home the crown this year? Tell us your vote in the comments — &/or on Facebook — and we’ll send one lucky commenter a souvenir from the event.

Visit the CMI website to read more about the competition. Listen to organizer Adam Moskowitz on Cutting the Curd from Heritage Radio Network. And read more about last year’s event here.

Then buy your tickets RIGHT NOW as the event is sure to sell out. Can’t make it to New York? Follow us on Twitter (@curdwise) for all the action as it happens.

*I’m aware that New Jersey is not part of New York, but I’m arbitrarily including those shops in Northern Jersey as part of the NYC Metro area. And this post has been updated as I inadvertently left off several mongers when originally posted.


Joe June 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

great post! but it looks like “Rodolphe Le Meunier” is that guy filling most of the frame, you might want to note that it’s actually the dark haired guy behind him. 😉

Colleen June 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Joe — thanks for clarifying that. Was distracted by that beautiful cheese. 😉

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