Andrew Steiner, Andrew's Cheese Shop, Santa Monica, CA
During the summer of 2000, when Andrew Steiner waited tables at Joachim Splichal’s Patina restaurant in Los Angeles, the restaurant closed for renovations. Splichal and his wife went to Europe to visit family and friends, and he noticed all the great restaurants had a cheese service at each table. He brought the idea home.
“He bought a little wooden trolley,” Steier said, “and we put a cutting board on it with a dozen or so cheeses.”
At the time, only a couple restaurants in the country offered cheese, and none in Los Angeles. When the cheese service first started, Steiner said one out of 20 tables ordered from it. By the time he left as maitre d’frommage, half the diners ordered cheese.
“I just wanted to learn about the cheeses so I looked like I knew what I was talking about,” the ever-articulate Steiner explained how he earned the title. “I got very interested in cheese. As I was studying about the cheeses, I would ask questions like, Hey, I read about this cheese. Is it possible we could get that? And the chef would just order it and see if we could get it. I was able to not only read about these new cheeses, but I was able to see them and taste them.”
Splichal finally handed the reigns to Steiner, and told him to call the cheese companies himself.
“So I became the person who knew more about cheese,” Steiner said. “Every time we had a cheese service and had a customer asking difficult questions, they would always say, Let me go get Andrew. He knows. So eventually, that was all I did.
I stopped waiting tables and just worked with the cheese.”
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