Meet the team

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Our staff is made up of people who are passionate about good food and providing a great customer service experience. Our team loves cheese and sharing it with you. Every cheese has a story, a history, a farmer and a cheesemaker behind it and it is our job as cheesemongers to tell those stories. We do it every day behind the counter, every week in cheese school and at every event we have. It is truly the best part of our job.

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Laura Downey ACS CCP & Chris Palumbo ACS CCP,

Founders

We opened Fairfield Cheese Company in May of 2009 with a passion for cheese, a retail and catering background, and a desire to “fill a void” in our local food landscape.

Our goal was to bring the best artisan cheese and specialty foods to the Fairfield community and the second part of that mission was to teach people about them. Cheese School has been an integral part of our shops because knowledge boosts confidence and appreciation. Education has been at the core of everything we do and will continue to do.

In 2014 we expanded to serve the Greenwich, Connecticut community with Greenwich Cheese Company in the Cos Cob neighborhood of Greenwich. In 2017, we launched Cheesemonger Box, an e-commerce only website that brings the cut to order cheese shop experience around the country.

We take our craft seriously. We are both American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professionals (ACS CCP), a distinction earned by only a few hundred people nationwide. And in addition to winning several awards and seals of approval from culinary magazines and establishments, we’ve earned a listing in the Oxford Companion to Cheese.

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Matthew Rose ACS CCP

Lead Cheesemonger

What made you want to work in cheese?

I had worked in food after graduating from college and after moving from Pennsylvania to Connecticut, I found work in the specialty foods department in a grocery store. Once I started working with the cheese I was completely blown away. It’s such a unique agricultural product that is endlessly variable and so naturally satisfying that I thought it was the perfect little corner of the food world to devote myself. I’ve been at Fairfield Cheese Co for almost three years.

What is your favorite part of being cheesemonger?

I love the process, the work, of sharing a cheese with someone. We get to observe the cheese, we get to engage with the cheese by tasting it and handling it. Then we try to take that whole experience and sum it up in a few short phrases or descriptors in the hope of achieving a faithful idea of what that cheese is.

Your favorite cheese right now? Why.

Right now, my favorite cheese is Taleggio. It’s a super traditional cheese, from northern Italy, and you can find it easily, most any cheese shop or grocery store cheese department better have it. And like we often say about those types of cheeses, they are not all created equal. At its best, it’s the perfect harmony of sweet and funk and it pairs with just about everything and doubles as a workhorse in the kitchen.

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Leeandra Mohammed ACS CCP

Full-time Cheesemonger Fairfield

What made you want to work in cheese?

While working as a specialty grocery team leader, I became fascinated and appreciative of artisan cheese that I decided to follow my passion and be a Cheesemonger. I love that real cheese is tied to the earth, and that cheese, like wine, has terroir. I’ve worked at Fairfield Cheese for over two years.

What is your favorite part of being a cheesemonger?

I love learning the story behind a cheese, and I love tasting delicious cheeses from around the world and discussing them with my fellow cheesemongers.  I love to pass that information on to customers and get them interested in the cheeses I love. It's nice when they come back and tell me how much they loved what I shared with them.

Your favorite cheese right now? Why?

My favorite cheese at the moment is our French Bleu des Causses. It's super creamy, fruity, and has the right balance of salt. It leaves a delicious lingering flavor in your mouth.

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Ed Reick

Full Time Cheesemonger Fairfield

What made you want to work in cheese?

I wanted a career where I'd be learning something new each day. There's so much to take in, and it's always satisfying to uncover more details. It also tastes pretty good, which is a nice bonus.

What is your favorite part of being a cheesemonger?

My favorite part so far has been seeing how cheeses vary depending on things like time of year and other unpredictable aspects. It always retains its identity, but sometimes certain portions of it come through more than they did the time before.

Your favorite cheese right now?

Bleu de Causses! We haven't had it in quite some time, and I missed it. Such a great combination of big flavors and a rich, soft texture. Precisely what I want going into fall.

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Pamela Rubio-Pina

Full-time cheesemonger, Greenwich

What made you want to work in cheese?

I have always loved cheese; I have been a cheese eater for years. However, I realized I wanted to work in cheese after attending a Mexican cheese and beer pairing class before heading to the Culinary Institute of America for college. That opened a door for me to work at a cheese shop in Mexico City, and that was the beginning of my cheese journey. It was an eye-opening experience that changed my life. At that point, I knew little about the fascinating world of cheese, as I was only an amateur cheese eater. However, ever since that class, I made it my mission to learn as much of this fascinating world of milk, microbes, and curds as possible.

What is your favorite part of being a cheesemonger?

My favorite part of being a cheesemonger is telling stories and sharing culture and history through cheese. Also, finding interesting cheese pairings is one of my favorite parts of the job.

Your favorite cheese at the moment? Why?

My favorite cheese currently is La Tur. I love the velvety and cakey texture and the tangy and buttery flavor of it. I love eating this cheese directly with a spoon!

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Heather Cameron

Part-time Cheesemonger, Fairfield

What made you want to work in cheese?

I was looking to get back into the food industry and wanted A job that didn’t feel like work.  I was excited about the opportunity to learn more about a food that I love while supporting and promoting small businesses, local farmers, and artisanal producers.

What is your favorite part of being a cheesemonger?

Learning about and tasting new things every day!

Your favorite cheese right now?

Rispens. This sheep's milk Gouda is creamy, bready, yeasty, and sweet. It's a great snacking cheese.

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Kimberly Muller

Part-time Cheesemonger, Fairfield

What made you want to work in cheese?

While my daughter was studying in France, I had the opportunity to visit her and travel to various regions. I tried many different types of cheese, and I wanted to learn more! When a position opened up at Fairfield Cheese Company, I thought it a great opportunity.

What is your favorite part of being a cheesemonger?

My favorite part of being a cheesemonger is meeting new customers and visiting with our regular clientele.

Your favorite cheese right now?

My favorite cheese right now is Rispens sheep’s milk Gouda from the Netherlands; it has tyrosine crystals and tastes like nutty toasted brioche.

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Elissa Jacknick

Part-time Cheesemonger, Fairfield

What made you want to work in cheese?

The cheese counter was a place I came to because I needed a change. Having had a career as a chef and transitioning briefly into retail, I craved the community and collective care and appreciation the people around me put into their work.

What is your favorite part of being a cheesemonger?

My favorite part of mongering is sharing someone’s first cheese experience with them and tasting the through the case as they realize what cheese could be. 

Your favorite cheese right now?

Currently, the cheeses that I have been eating the most have been from Capriole - decadent goats milk cheeses paired with the last of the orange marmalade I made in February.