2015 Official Conference Cheesemonger
One could argue that James inherited his love of food not from the British inspired cooking of his mother and grandmother, but from the nuanced flavors of his adopted grandparents’ Italian and Armenian dishes that tempted his Episcopalian palate. From there James cooked in restaurants off and on through high school and college with a brief stint trying to save the world working in non-profits; but food always beckoned. In 2008 James began working at Whole Foods Market in downtown Seattle as a meat cutter then quickly transitioned to the cheese counter. In 2012 James was selected by WFM to take the inaugural ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam in Raleigh and train for a week at the University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research.
Shortly thereafter, James moved to New Orleans to work at the St. James Cheese Company, where he is now head cheesemonger and works in the wholesale operation distributing cheese to over 200 restaurants in New Orleans. In the spring of 2015 James will be running the cheese program at St. James’s new location in New Orleans’ warehouse district.
Last Summer, James began writing for Cheeserank.com and competed in the New York Cheesmonger Invitational (placing third) and intends on competing again this summer. In the fall of 2014, James went on a trip to Europe visiting Neal’s Yard Dairy, the beautiful cheese shops in Paris and the Sial food show, and finally as part of the New Orleans Slow Food contingent at the Terra Madre festival in Turino to bring awareness to the diminishing Louisiana coast line.
About St. James Cheese Company
Richard and Danielle Sutton’s interest in cheese began as children when they both, separately, visited Europe with their parents. On a whim they moved to London in 2002 to see what adventures would find them. What found both of them was Paxton & Whitfield, the over 200-year-old cheese shop in the St. James neighborhood, and supplier of cheese to the royal household and Parliament. Living in London and working at Paxton’s allowed Richard access to the great cheesemakers and affineurs of Europe and a wealth of knowledge and training about cheese. In 2006, Richard and Danielle decided to move back to the US and open their own cheese business. Having met in New Orleans while in college at Tulane and having enormous fondness for the city, they decided that this was where they would open the St. James Cheese Company (www.stjamescheese.com). Despite the challenges of opening a business in post-Katrina New Orleans, St. James Cheese has been welcomed with open arms by the city and has grown a loyal and steady following.