This past weekend I was in San Francisco at The Cheese School learning from fellow cheese-shop hopefuls and from the brilliant Steve Jones of The Cheese Bar. While in the bay I walked (and walked and walked to visit a umber of other shops, shops like Cowgirl, Bi-Rite, Gourmet & More… picking up ideas, meeting owners… so much to learn!
By far the most inspirational was a Saturday lunch at Mission Cheese. Honestly, it’s sorta turned my business concept on its head… just a bit. Sarah Dvorak really has something going there. It gives me pause.
And on the heels of my trip, Peter Prato posts this great interview with Sarah from Mission Cheese.
“A few years ago my friend, Sarah Dvorak, started talking about cheese. It wasn’t just that she likes cheese. This woman loves cheese. Loves it. She talks about cheeses with an understanding and an appreciation of their intricacies in such a way that you feel like you come to know them as people. Some are sharp, where others are shy, and it takes some time to get to know them. Some are strong, and forceful, and are not for the faint of heart nose. All of them are worth getting to know
and have something to offer. And in this way, after some time spent with Sarah, you come to see her as the perfect delivery for all brands of personality. She takes a quality that is overlooked, or dismissed, or difficult, and turns it into a delicacy; something one could appreciate silently or in a thicket of elbows. I watched Sarah take an idea about who she wanted to be and turn that idea into a small universe of possibility. She and I have worked together several times throughout this evolution and so it occurred to me that I could learn a thing or two by sitting down with her and asking her about what it’s taken to make Mission Cheese a reality in San Francisco.”
Please make time to read the full interview: The Cheese Evangelist. An interview with Sarah Dvorak, of Mission Cheese. – Peter Prato.
Another spot worth dodging into if you are near Bi-Rite/Mission is Gourmet and More… it’s an extremely narrow and deep space with a smattering of offerings lining what is basically a hallway… but the back holds a small ~5×5 room that may be the only French-style cave in the country. All cheeses are held cut and unwrapped in the open, while the room is refrigerated and humid. In Paris, whole shops are managed this way, though I cannot imagine working in that temp all day.
The owner is French and she keeps a number of French cheeses including some raw milk cheeses you might not find elsewhere… iPhone pics: