the appetizer:

Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager by Max McCalman and David Gibbons includes articles like Serving & Storing Cheese: Guidelines for Home; Organoleptic Profiling: Matching Cheese with Wine; and Tasting Plate: But There Are Swiss Cheeses.

Cookbook Profile

Mastering Cheese
Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager

by Max McCalman and David Gibbons

Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager
Click to buy Mastering Cheese


In Mastering Cheese, Maître fromager Max McCalman, author of The Cheese Plate and Cheese, shares the wealth of his expertise to help cheese lovers on their path to connoisseurship.

After years of teaching courses for amateurs at the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, where he is Dean of Curriculum, McCalman has developed a set of classes for understanding and experiencing cheese. A full master's course in a book, Mastering Cheese presents the world of cheese in twenty-two distinct lessons, featuring tasting plates that demonstrate key topics. In a chapter titled "Stunning Stinkers" McCalman explains why some of the strongest-smelling cheeses can be among the best tasting and then recommends several stars of this category. Learn about the issues facing real raw-milk cheeses and then go out and taste the differences between these cheeses and those made with pasteurized milk.

For the first time in any of his books, McCalman includes extensive information on the modern artisanal cheese revolution in the United States and prominently features these artisans and their products alongside the famous cheeses of Italy, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Complete with helpful charts and an invaluable index of more than 300 cheeses, Mastering Cheese is the definitive course that you can use in your own home to pursue your passion for cheese.

About the Authors

Max McCalman is America's first restaurant-based Maître Fromager, and Garde et Juré as designated by France's Guilde Internationale des Fromagers Comfrérie de Saint-Uguzon. McCalman, a veteran of the food and hospitality industries, spent most of his professional life as a Maître d' Hotel and Sommelier. He joined New York City-based restaurant Picholine in 1994 where, as Maître d'Hotel, he became a dedicated scholar of cheese and created that restaurant's fabled cheese program with Chef-Proprietor Terrance Brennan.

McCalman later established the critically acclaimed cheese programs at Artisanal Brasserie & Fromagerie restaurant, followed by the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, both in New York City. Picholine, Artisanal Brasserie and the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center created on-site "caves" to nurture cheeses to their peak stages of ripeness. This helped to create their world-renowned reputations for offering fabulous cheeses.

McCalman co-authored The Cheese Plate with David Gibbons which was nominated for awards by the James Beard Foundation and by the International Association of Cooking Professionals (IACP). His second book, Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best, an expansive reference on the world's finest cheeses and their wine pairings, won a 2006 James Beard Award. Mastering Cheese: Lessons For Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager won "Best in the World Book on Cheese" for 2011 from Gourmand International World Cook Book Awards announced in Paris in March 2011. It is also a finalist in the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Food & Beverage Reference/Technical category.

As Dean of Curriculum, Director of Affinage and Maître Fromager at Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, McCalman leads the charge to raise awareness and spread the joys of cheese to consumers and professionals. He is a highly visible advocate for artisanal cheese production and is renowned as one of the cheese world's living legends for his expertise, insight and passion.

McCalman is a contributing editor to the leading cheese magazines: Culture and Cheese Connoisseur, and he has made appearances on the Television Food Network, the CBS Evening News, the Cable News Network, the Daily Show, Martha Stewart Living Television, the Jon Stewart Show, and has been featured on various radio programs.

McCalman received his formal education at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. McCalman lives in Park Slope, Bklyn, N.Y. with his daughter, Scarlett, and their dog, Jeter.


David Gibbons has collaborated on many books, including two previous books with McCalman: The Cheese Plate, which was nominated for James Beard and IACP awards in 2003, and Cheese, which won a James Beard Award in 2006.


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Mastering Cheese


This page created April 2011