Brett McClavy, of The Cheese Shop, is on the cutting edge of the sustainable food movement. We sat down with Brett to learn about his shop and his favorite food issues, and can’t wait to share his story with you. Hear about his food experiments and the welcome reception they receive in Des Moines:
The Cheese Shop is on the forefront of this wonderful and growing REAL food scene here in Iowa. We work directly with farmers and producers to not only bring people the best possible cheese we can get, but also working directly with local organic vegetable farmers to supply our cafe, and some amazing small protein farmers as well. We are extremely blessed to have wonderful relationships with companies like La Quercia and Niman Ranch for our cured products, but also blessed to work with Ethan Book and his wonderful heirloom chickens, pigs, beef, and my favorite Guinea Fowls. Our main objective at the Cheese Shop is to get people in the door and let them taste the best cheese and some of the best food in the world.
Is it challenging to convince the guests in your restaurant to try new things? How do you introduce something that people might be skeptical of?
One of m favorite things about the Cheese Shop and our customers is the fact that people come here to try new things, so from a Chef/Monger/Server it’s always a great day. I personally try to push the boundaries as much as possible; I make all the Charcuterie here, pate, sausage etc. And that really allows me to introduce all these new flavors and textures to our guests. We have served Blood Noodles, every type of Blood Sausage, all types of livers, and even Corned Elk heart. We don’t have a lot of problems with getting guests to try new stuff. Now, they expect it out of us, and for me that really is amazing. Also the sustainable aspect of whole animal eating is really special and most of our guests understand that. We don’t really sell any types of “money cuts” like steaks or expensive cuts, I am known as the chef in town that will buy all the “weird cuts” And its important for me to not see those things wasted and to really showcase there rich culinary value.
What do you most look forward to at this year’s Summit?
I am most looking forward to Ari’s breakout session, The 12 Natural Laws of Business. I also can’t wait to just meet and mingle with like minded chefs and get inspiration from them. And hang out in the mountains drinking sour beer!
Have a pint with Brett at the Summit in Boulder. It’s going to be an exciting couple of days! Get your tickets and join the conversation here: bit.ly/CCSummit2014