Kurt Gurdal was born in Boston, Massachusetts and was raised in the cheese industry by his parents, Ihsan and Valerie Gurdal, owners of world renowned cheese shop, Formaggio Kitchen.
It was just part of his life - eating goat cheese on toast every weekend with his family and having Comté and salami sandwiches for school lunch.
He was also raised around beach volleyball tournaments with his father, which attracted him to Southern California, where he attended college.
When he would go home during the holidays and help out at the shop, it was clear to him that he was not going to pursue his degree and go full fledged into the family business.
Kurt’s formal cheese training started at Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, an institution of British Isle cheese and one of the best shops in the world.
He soaked it all in, visiting dairies, working at their aging facility and also in the shop, where he began to learn the craft of being a cheesemonger.
After his visa was up, he returned back home to Formaggio Kitchen, which has a large cheese counter but also shelves full of amazing products that all have a story behind them.
He got involved in the kitchen, where he grilled for their sidewalk BBQ, managed their caves, became a cheese buyer and eventually the store GM.
He was lucky enough to travel to meet with producers and find products to import to the shop, which greatly influenced his perspective on food in general.
It was hard for Kurt to leave the family business, but he decided to return to sunny California with the goal to open a neighborhood shop similar to Formaggio Kitchen in Los Angeles.
Throughout his time in LA, he got the chance to work alongside some amazing chefs and other people who have also shaped who he is as a cheesemonger and a person.
Kurt hopes to do what his family, his mentors and other fellow cheesemongers have done for him: to share the knowledge he was taught, his passion and help support and increase awareness of the amazing people who produce the products we eat.