At the age of 18, I was a foodie before foodies ever existed. Before you could buy specialty saIts and exotic balsamic vinegars in supermarkets. It all started with Piret’s in Mission Hills – an eclectic San Diego neighborhood of stately homes and refined palettes. Piret’s was a small, neighborhood bistro with an even smaller specialty shop inside, and it was in the specialty shop that I found my refuge… and my future.

The shop itself was nothing much, just a small space with classic black and white tiled floors, lined with industrial shelving. But what those shelves held was mesmerizing to me, and I spent hours there, chatting with the staff about the differences between salted and brined capers; extolling the virtues of anchovy paste; and how to select the best pates. Learning how to enhance my own recipes and dishes with these specialty ingredients launched my lifelong passion for cookbooks and entertaining.

I never imagined back then that I would someday have my own specialty food shop. Eventually, my husband and I moved from Southern California to the lush, Pacific Northwest where I opened my artisan cheese and specialty food shop, Quel Fromage. It was there that I was able to hone a trio of skills that would propel me to where I am today: an in-depth knowledge of artisan cheeses and specialty foods; developing the recipes for the shop’s signature accoutrements; and perfecting the ability to make each customer feel as though they’d just stepped foot into a dinner party at which they were the guest of honor.

These days, Quel Fromage has a happy new owner, my husband and I have returned to our hometown of San Diego, and I am on to new ventures! Along with this new chapter comes an opportunity to collaborate with other specialty food professionals through consulting, sharing my favorite recipes with like-minded food folks via my blog, and developing my new boutique line of the Fromagette brand handmade foods such as Grand Marnier + Goat Cheese Truffles, and Caramelized Garlic Goat Spread.

Thanks for stopping by,

RachelRachel Riggs

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Leave a Comment