Cheesemonger & Educator
In 1992, Alison bought a small retail wine and cheese shop, Brie & Bordeaux, in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle. The shop grew from a very small selection of 10 wines and 75 cheeses to over 150 wines and cheeses with a specialty catering business tailored for the wine industry. In 1996, she expanded and created a 30 seat French-influenced bistro adjacent to the retail shop with a 500 bottle selection of wines and over 200 cheeses with in-house aging and an emphasis on American Farmhouse and Artisanal cheeses. The focus in the bistro encouraged the use of specialty cheeses as an integral ingredient in the menu, incorporating the cheeseboard into the dining experience and used the retail wine selection as the wine list. Brie & Bordeaux achieved both local and national recognition for excellence in the Bistro and Cheese & Wine Shop.
Alison sold Brie & Bordeaux in 2000 and created her own consulting company in which she worked on multiple projects, such as training chefs and staff in cheese presentation, application and affinage (aging) in the restaurant setting.
Alison was the primary consultant in the design and launch of the original Beecher’s Handmade Cheese retail store in the Pike Place Market, including development and implementation of programs overseeing cheese care and retail staff training.
Currently she teaches “Home Creamery” and “Cheese & Wine Pairing” Classes at The Pantry in Ballard. In the past, she's taught the “Introduction to Artisan Cheese & Charcuterie” for the Seattle Culinary Academy/Innovation College and she is skilled in creating curricula for both general consumers as well as culinary professionals.
Recently, Alison became a member of the 2016 class of American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professionals® (ACS CCPs®). The ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam is the first and only exam of its kind. It was launched by the American Cheese Society in 2012 to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals in all areas of the industry. The exam is based on the knowledge and skills required to successfully perform cheese-related tasks in jobs across the industry. Testing encompasses a broad range of topics including raw ingredients, the cheesemaking process, storing and handling cheese, selecting distributors, marketing and communicating about cheese, nutrition, regulations, and sanitation.