Thursday, February 3, 2011

Greetings from the Cheese Monger....

So, it may be hard to talk about Cheese these days if you're a true Chicagoan and Bears fan. Yet, instead of boycotting it because we at no cost want to do the Cheese head's (dare I mention their name) any sort of favors than we already did; we should take this chance to demolish and devour all sorts of cheese. We need to show those Cheese head fans that we know there are more types of Cheese than Cheddar and American..(I know it's hard to believe, yet shockingly true)

Therefore, I'd like to introduce Stephanie Link from Lemon Tree; who is also known as: the Cheese Monger! Yep, that's right: she likes her name, and she's sticking to it. So, let Stephanie tell you about her cheese experience, and see if you can withhold yourself from falling in love with cheese all over again!

Here's Stephanie: I grew up in VERY southern Illinois, about 20 minutes from Paducah, KY. I graduated from high school there and briefly attended college at Murray State University. I then moved to St Louis, Mo. Then, in 2001 I moved to this area to be near family. I've worked in the food industry my entire life, I've been a roller skating carhop, a server, bartender, prep cook, hostess, manager pretty much everything.

About 5 years ago I decided to attend culinary school and after a bit of research I decided on the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. After school, I started working at Sam's wines and Spirits in the Gourmet Market. While working there I learned a LOT about cheese. I studied all of the different kinds of cheeses, where they come from, what pairs best with wine or beer or food. How to cook with it, How to make the perfect cheese plate. In the meantime I had taken a management job at a restaurant and wasn't too excited about working there.I found the Lemon Tree ad on Craigslist and the rest is history. Here at the Lemon Tree I'm trying to create a place where people can come to buy REALLY good cheese. We do lots of sampling, cheese and wine pairing, beer pairing, cheese plates.

Now for the reasons on why I love cheese so much: First, the reason I love cheese...It's fascinating. Like most people in the US, I grew up thinking cheese came in "singles" and made great sandwiches.When I started to learn about all the cheeses that are available, I was hooked. I'm a bit of a dork and wanted to learn all I could, I read books, did online research, I learned all I could about the cheese making process. I learned how cheese is made, what it's made of, how long it takes to make. Cheese is a living organism, there are so many steps in the process that have to go just right or it doesn't work.

Now, I want to share what I've learned, I want everybody to love cheese too, and there is something for everyone. Nearly every country in the world produces some sort of cheese. Cheese tastes good, it's nutrient dense, it helps build strong bones and teeth. You can eat it at any stage of a meal, from appetizer to dessert. There are a million reasons to eat cheese. What are some of the reasons you love cheese?

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