Wendy Mitchell – Owner/Cheese Maker
After a little over 20 years in the restaurant business, Wendy became captivated with the idea of cheese making as a way to stay connected to food yet transition out of the restaurant business. In 2006 she sold her small restaurant company in Houston, Texas and spent a year living in Edinburgh, Scotland. During that time she traveled around the United Kingdom taking cheese making classes and interning on farms and dairies in order to learn how to make cheese. The willingness of the cheese makers in the United Kingdom to openly share information with new cheese makers and teach their skills was a true inspiration. That openness gave her not only the knowledge she needed, but the commitment that this was the right trade/industry for her.
Newly connected to cheese making, Wendy moved to Aspen, Colorado only to learn that there was not a dependable source of milk for the volume of cheese that she wanted and needed to produce. She and her husband decided to invest in a small farm in Paonia, where they could raise goats and set up a dairy. The town of Paonia was another affirmation that this path was the right one. The willingness of the community to help a “city girl” with a vision was truly heartening. Paonia is a community of farmers and the organic movement in Paonia is one of the strongest in the region.
Wendy spent most of 2008 learning about raising dairy goats and farming, while setting up a milking parlor in Paonia and a creamery in Basalt. In March of 2008, she received the first of her milk from Paonia and began processing cheese.
Brennan Buckley – Director of Operations
Kevin McCullen – Head Cheese Maker
Kevin has been working in the food and beverage industry since he graduated The Culinary Institute of America in 2000. He worked in Manhattan at Union Square Café following graduation and realized that the city life was not for him. He moved out to Colorado in 2003 and began working for The Little Nell and the following year was sent to classes on the east coast to learn how make cheese.
Kevin worked at The Little Nell for the next four years continuing to learn the cheese making art of and other fermented products like sausage and prosciutto.
In the summer of 2009 Kevin joined the team at Avalanche Cheese and is furthering his love for local cheese, food and ideas. He loves snow, sunshine and long walks on the beach!
Bob Isaacson – Farm and Dairy Manager
Cory Obert – Farm Facilities Manager
Photograph courtesy of edibleASPEN by Jim Paussa. (Click to view larger images)