I recently had the pleasure of photographing the Cheesemonger Invitational in San Francisco. The public portion of the event is quite a scene with copious amounts of cheese and spectacle. What guests at that event don’t see is the behind the scenes educational component and the early stages of competition when contestants put their knowledge and skills to the test.
Day 1 is a monger-focused educational day that provides direct connection between the people who make and sell the cheese.
They get direct access to top producers and importers who can share the human elements that go into making fine cheese. These tidbits are like gold when selling cheeses with customers back home in their shop. Perhaps even more important, they get access to an energized community of like-minded people who share their passion for great cheese.
The very fact that such a day exists – and that 50 people signed on for this intense two-day immersion into all things cheese on their day off – speaks volumes about the kind of people that choose cheese as a vocation, whether making it or selling it.
They simply want to know more, learn more. Always. When you work with something as endlessly fascinating as cheese, the learning and exploring is never done.
Combine that with the direct relationship that has been cultivated between the people who make cheeses in far flung places and the people who, ultimately, get it out to the consumer and it’s a recipe for magic.
Here are a few of my favorite photos of Day 1. More – and Day 2 – coming soon.