Chef Instructor Q & A: Meet Adam Shutes
Chef Adam Shutes is joining us from Boston Cheese Cellar to make and taste a variety of fresh and aged cheeses at several upcoming Cheesemaking and Tasting classes. With his guidance, you’ll make your own fresh ricotta and queso fresco while learning the science behind separating milk into curds and whey, the additives that promote unique flavor profiles, and aging and storing practices that further differentiate our favorite styles of cheese.
Adam has been behind Boston Cheese Cellar in Roslindale since 2015. We reached out to learn more about his experiences, expertise, and favorite cheese pairing.
Q: Tell us about your path to the Boston Cheese Cellar.
A: My path was a circuitous one. I have a degree and PhD in Biochemistry, and then completed postdoctoral studies in Oncology at UNC-Chapel Hill, before moving up to Boston to work further in the Oncology, Immunology and Neurodegeneration fields, for small Biotech. After placing 6 drugs in the clinic, and seeing the last company at which I worked go IPO, I decided I wanted to do something more hyper-local, and that’s where Boston Cheese Cellar came in.
Q: Why cheese? Has it always been a passion of yours?
A: My first exposure to cheese, above and beyond supermarket level stuff, was when I lived in London. I used to travel down on the bus to Covent Garden to go to Rough Trade Records for the latest releases. Just around the corner of Rough Trade, was Neal’s Yard Dairy – who helped to revive British Cheesemaking in the early 1980s and 1990s. I would buy some records and out of curiosity, drop into Neal’s Yard, just to see what it was all about.
Q: When did you begin teaching cheesemaking and tasting classes? What’s your favorite thing about teaching?
A: I started teaching these classes pretty much when I opened 4 years ago. The best thing about teaching, is providing someone with the confidence and understanding to repeat what they’ve learnt, and trouble shoot when it goes wrong.
Q: What’s your favorite cheese and do you pair it with anything?
A: Hafod cheddar, a good English Brown ale.
Q: Is there anything you’d add about the upcoming classes or about cheese in general?
A: True, real, artisanal cheese is a complex substance which draws on the environment, the farming, the animal husbandry, the local geography, biochemistry, local microbiology, and has influenced human culture for centuries. Yet, you don’t need to know this to enjoy a real cheese – but doing so enhances the experience, and re-focusses you on what good food really is.