"Cheese is a mysterious force."
Lucy's Whey has been providing American artisanal cheeses to the residents of East Hampton since 2007. They've now brought their wares and love for cheese to the Chelsea Market, where Cheesemonger Amy Thompson is at the helm.
Name: Amy Thompson
How did you get involved in the cheese business? Cheese is a mysterious force. In a sense, cheese found me. I was interested in learning and teaching about sustainable agriculture and food production, and in direct farm to table links. Artisanal cheese production exemplified many qualities of the type of food chain integrity that I was looking for: craftsmanship, pride, and a flavor palette rooted in terroir. I have previously worked at Murray's and Consider Bardwell Farm and hold the title of pinch hitter at Saxelby Cheesemongers.
Tell us a little about the cheeses you've selected for the New York branch of Lucy's Whey. We carry only American artisanal cheeses, many of which are made with raw milk, most of which we are buying directly from the producers. I have had the pleasure of visiting most of the cheesemakers myself. Our vision is to stock small production cheeses that have stories behind them and that are products of dedication to animal well-being.
We have a range of goat, cow and sheeps' milk cheeses, many of which are hard to find elsewhere. For example, Mountain View Dairy's Misty Mountain Camembert from Richfield Springs, New York—an Amish dairy with no electricity making 12 different kinds of raw milk cheese from 40 grass-fed cows.
We've also designed several panini that feature our cheeses. Come in for lunch!
For those stuck on imported cheeses, can you give us American suggestions for iconic cheeses, like Manchego? As many American cheeses are modeled after European style cheeses, we can easily satisfy tastebuds accustomed to the popular European fromages. The Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Coop Dante has similarities to Manchego. We also like to expand people's knowledge of American-made cheese beyond the florescent orange square.
Any particular cheeses that are always in your fridge? Manchester from Consider Bardwell Farm and Parmigiano-Reggiano, I know, not American, but it is the king of cheese!
Where do you like to have lunch in the Chelsea Market? The charcuterie sandwich at The Green Table is amazing. During the build out of Lucy's Whey, I ate there twice a week. Now that we are open, I just get their soup to go.
What are your favorite local hangouts or places you might be considered a regular? I live in Williamsburg. I hang out at Spuyten Duyvil, with different craft beers on tap all the time. I am addicted to coffee, good coffee, so I frequent Gimme Coffee, Cafe Grumpy, and I'll be a regular at The Meat Hook/The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs now that it is open. I'm very excited about their bulk room set up and my CSA is having a winter share pick up at The Labs. And my new fave coffee hangout is The Ace Hotel. The Stumptown Cafe makes a mean macchiato.
Best late-night eats? I don't eat out late very often, but I do make popcorn late at night. Popcorn with curry powder, might be my favorite snack.
Last cheese you tasted that knocked your socks off? Meadow Creek Dairy's Grayson is a pungent, soft raw cows milk cheese that certainly smells like socks and I love it.
What's your guilty pleasure? Sour cream or cake donuts from Peter Pan in Greenpoint.
Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant/bar recommendations. Who's yours? Robert Sietsema from the Village Voice, I can always count on his recommendations!
What's the best recommendation he has given you? For good Thai food, I'll go to Queens, to Zabb on Roosevelt Ave or Ayada in Elmhurst.
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