A Talent Agent for the Best Local Cheesemakers
October 12, 2021 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Anne Saxelby, champion of U.S. cheesemakers and owner of Saxelby Cheesemongers, has died. Inspired by Neal’s Yard Dairy, which helped revive the British cheese industry in the 70s and 80s by forging relationships with small cheesemakers, Saxelby opened her first stall in New York’s Essex Street Market in 2006.

Stocking only U.S. cheeses was unheard of, yet Saxelby focused even more closely on selections from just the Northeast. Many of the cheesemakers Saxelby bought from had only existed for a few years and she provided them with a platform at a time when the U.S. cheese industry was just coming into its own. Initially she staffed the market stall alone, making deliveries to local restaurants on her bike while wearing a backpack stuffed with 25 lbs. of cheese. Within 5 years, Chef Daniel Boulud was calling her “the most sophisticated boutique fromagère—or cheesemonger— in the U.S.”
posted by theory (18 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Blessed are the cheesemakers.

(But seriously, it's people like Saxelby that keep boring corporate homogenization at bay.)
posted by tclark at 2:30 PM on October 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

posted by gauche at 2:31 PM on October 12, 2021

posted by thecaddy at 2:39 PM on October 12, 2021

posted by clavdivs at 2:50 PM on October 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

This is shocking and awful. She was only 40.

I just recently watched her incredible rundown of cheeses on the Epicurious YT channel which is probably the best quick primer on the world of cheese you'll ever see. It also shows the love she had for her profession and her love of life.

posted by gwint at 2:52 PM on October 12, 2021 [16 favorites]


posted by lalochezia at 3:15 PM on October 12, 2021

posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:22 PM on October 12, 2021

Too young, too young, it's a real shame.

Also - man, after watching the video gwint linked to, I'm going to have to make a visit to the store to stock up on cheeses!
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:14 PM on October 12, 2021

Aw, crud. A good cheesemonger is like a saint, and for her to go so young….
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:14 PM on October 12, 2021

Also a champion of the Lower East Side, opening in the old Essex Market when it was a lot more rickety.
posted by praemunire at 5:35 PM on October 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

pour out some of the runniest bloomy rind ya got on hand

posted by youarenothere at 5:45 PM on October 12, 2021

She was really just an incredibly nice person...
So sad.
posted by JPD at 6:55 PM on October 12, 2021

I,too, recently watched her rundown of cheeses (linked by gwint above), and was reminded of how may times I'd gone to her online shop to send cheeses as gifts. Such a loss.

posted by OHenryPacey at 6:59 PM on October 12, 2021

archive link to article
posted by stevil at 9:57 PM on October 12, 2021

Damn. I just shared that gwint-link with my cheese-mongering daughter, like, 3 weeks ago. The cheese landscape was so dull before Anne Saxelby and other Neal'sYardies like her.
posted by BobTheScientist at 1:17 AM on October 13, 2021

I had the pleasure of meeting Anne a few years ago and she was lovely and sharp, just like some of her best cheeses. Her shop beat the pants off Murray's, though it's also quite good. And BobTheScientist, my mouth watered just seeing that picture of Neal's Yard, one of my very favorite places in the world. More stinky cheese shops plz!
posted by widdershins at 7:59 AM on October 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by Pendragon at 12:11 PM on October 13, 2021

This is really sad. She was such a nice, positive, knowledgeable person. I always looked forward to seeing her at the old Essex market. Once they moved to Chelsea Market I didn't see her much anymore (too far away to get to that often), but I still get their newsletter and enjoyed reading her cheese writing.
posted by overhauser at 12:42 PM on October 13, 2021

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