Profiles of ACS CCPs®

Amanda Hartman

L’Albatros Brasserie & Bar, Cleveland, OH

Five years ago, I started work as a server at L’Albatros Brasserie. The cheese program was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. The quality, quantity, and variety of the cheeses to which we had access implied a depth and scope of the subject of which I hadn’t been aware. In short, my mind was blown. I was overwhelmed, a little intimidated, and fascinated.

When a cheese course is ordered at L’Albatros Brasserie, the designated cheesemonger of the evening brings over the selections: a wooden board of roughly 3 square feet holding 25-30 cheeses of all styles, milks, regions, and flavor profiles. In addition to service, there is also care of the cheese, which involves setting up the evening’s board, tasting each individual cheese to know the ripeness level and nuances, and at the end of the evening, wrapping, labeling, storing, and tucking the cheese into bed, locked safely in our “cheese cage” in the cooler.

Because of the focus, passion, and care that I have for cheese, becoming an ACS Certified Cheese Professional® seemed a natural next step for me. In 2016, I earned my ACS CCP® credential.

Cheese is fun, challenging, and complex. Artisan cheesemaking is a small but growing niche in the United States, and attaining certification has given me an edge in the field, and an asset to bring to the table…or to the cheese board.

Cole Mathers

Fromager and Dining Room Captain, Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco

colemathersI grew up working in the restaurant industry, and by the age of 16 I had decided that I would never work in a restaurant again. Instead, I studied Computer Science in college. But, as most college stories go, I needed some spending cash, so I went back to my roots and waited tables.

After college, I moved to San Francisco to hunt for my dream IT position. To pay the bills in the meantime, I yet again returned to my roots and applied for a position at Restaurant Gary Danko. My conception of a restaurant professional was quickly flipped upside down. Humbled by this new world, I became hungry to gather as much knowledge as I could about service, food, wine, and of course, cheese! My first focus was on wine; I was fascinated by the world’s great wines and there was so much to learn. I continued to study and passed my Certified Sommelier exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Around this time, the opportunity to run the cheese program at Restaurant Gary Danko fell in my lap. I was thirsty for knowledge, and this was a new field to focus on…and then it happened. I was bitten by the “cheese bug.” As I read about cheese, I only wanted to read more. There were similarities between the great wines and the great cheeses of the world, and this peaked my interest further. Every bit of knowledge I gained led to another question, and before I knew it, my mentors were coming to me with their own questions about cheese. I was soon more knowledgeable about cheese than wine, and I wondered if there was a certification I could attain in the cheese industry. I found the ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam, and I proudly earned my ACS CCP® credential in 2016.