Michiana's Menu: Behind the scenes life of a cheesemonger

Michiana’s Menu: Behind the scenes life of a cheesemonger

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- “My mom was a chef, so food was always integrated into our life,” says Laura Stephenson, Head Cheesemonger at Oh Mamma’s. “It never really dawned on me like ‘hey this is what I wanted to be’, it just happened.”

If there is one thing Lauren Stephenson knows, it is cheese.

“The merriment of science and food and all that cheese is, just tied together everything I ever liked. We love to educate folks on how to eat well, what is good and keep it simple.”

She is the head cheesemonger at Oh Mamma’s on the Avenue in South Bend. But you might be asking yourself…what is a cheesemonger?

“A cheesemonger is somebody who is educated on cheese and all things cheese related. We like to call them cheese friends, and also forging bonds between customers and different dairies throughout the world.”

And that all comes into practice right here at Oh Mamma’s. There’s a huge variety of offerings some brought in from around the world and others made regionally and locally. And of course, some special cheese is made right here in-house.

Because the cheese is made here locally, the taste of the environment is an added perk and something you can only find here! While serving fresh, local cheese is a passion of Stephenson’s, her calling goes beyond just educating the community on gouda versus goat!

“I think it is important to help people understand that eating healthy, eating right is easy and that is part of the misconception. The fast food movement has been part of our core especially our generation growing up so dialing it back to the slow food movement and eating what is readily available and in season can be good and can be easy.”

And with that slow cooking, also comes the sights. Part of Stephenson’s job is to create elaborate, fresh cheese boards. When customers visit the shop, they can choose a sandwich or salad… or go straight for the board!

“You eat with your eyes first, so when you look at something and it looks less than appealing you are less likely to want to try it.”

Plan your visit here.  

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