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Eataly's Own Takes Cheesemonger Invitational 2015

On January 11, 2015, cheese connoisseurs from across North America trekked to San Francisco for the Cheesemonger Invitational, a bi-annual cheesemonger competition.Throughout the day-long event, adamant cheese professionals battled it out, participating in challenges such as cheese wrapping, blind tasting, and crafting the “perfect bite.”

After the final round, the judges made their announcement: Matt Reilly of Eataly Chicago is the Master Cheesemonger!

“I was super surprised when they announced my name,” said Matt. “And I was excited about being accepted into the family of cheese producers, retailers, and distributors.”

That cheese family is now even closer: Matt is the second monger at Eataly to receive the honor. Emily Acosta of Eataly NYC Flatiron won the Cheesemonger Invitational in 2014, rendering Eataly the first company to employ two Master Cheesemongers in the competition’s history. The two Eatalian cheesemongers will experience their grand prizes together: an all-expense-paid trip in September to explore the cheeses of France from Cheese Journeys.


Matt’s interest in food began as a child when learning the craft of bread baking from his mother and avidly watching the PBS chefs Graham Kerr, Martin Yan, and, of course, Lidia Bastianich. After his first professional kitchen experiences in India, Spain, and New York, Matt decided to attend the culinary program at the Culinary Institute of America. When Matt graduated from the CIA, he held several professional positions as head chef in New York and Los Angeles.

In 2011, Matt’s cheesemonger career began at the Eataly NYC Flatiron cheese counter. Two years later, Matt became the manager and helped open the new cheese counter at Eataly Chicago. Today, Matt oversees all cheeses, cured meats, antipasti, and dairy at Eataly Chicago, as well as the Mozzarella Laboratory, where his team makes fresh mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, compound butters, and various other cheese and antipasti used in our restaurants and available in our marketplace.

“I hope that the Cheesemonger Invitational will help spread the word about the great things that we do at Eataly every day,” Matt said.

Piazza Eataly Cheese

Visit Matt Reilly at Eataly Chicago's cheese counter, and you are sure to come away loving cheese more than ever!