August 15, 2012: A Memory in Honor of Julia Child's 100th Birthday

Julia and Ihsan at the Opening of Our Caves - 1997

It was a Wednesday in the spring of 1997. It had been a few months since I had transformed my little office in the basement into a cheese cave. We were hosting a small open house and had invited a variety of local food people and members of the press. As the day progressed, I was called up to the cheese counter and was delighted to find Julia waiting for me.

In that remarkable voice of hers, she asked what all the hoopla was about and if she could see our cheese cave. I led her back into the kitchen and spent about ten minutes with all the staff members rushing to meet the Legend. We got to the top of the basement stairs only to realize that it would be too steep for her. I was determined to show her the cave so, after a moment of discussion, I gently picked her up and slowly carried her down the stairs. To this day, I don't think I have ever been so nervous carrying such precious cargo.

Once we made it to the cave, Julia sat down on a beautiful wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano and I proceeded to tell her about our cheeses. I plugged a wheel of Montgomery's clothbound cheddar for her to taste. She took a bite of the plug and said that it was, "more expensive than a prime steak. But it's good." To our surprise, her statement eventually got aired and published in over 20 countries, which helped put us on the map as a store.

Ihsan Gurdal
Owner, Formaggio Kitchen