Results From the 2011 Cheesemonger Invitational

One warehouse in Long Island City, 40 nervous cheesemongers and a crowd of 700 to cheer them on to glory. It was the 2011 Cheesemonger Invitational, and yes, it was the cheese-world equivalent of duking it out in Thunderdome–40 mongers enter, one monger leaves…

…and then, later, after all the cheese has been eaten and all the liquor drunk, the other 39 leave because it’s not like this is really a fight to the death or anything. At least not this year.

Philly had some skin in the game this year in the shape of Zeke Ferguson from DiBruno Bros. He took 4th place last year, handling himself with aplomb while fighting his way through three levels of competition–a blind tasting (wicked hard under optimal circumstances, somewhat more impossible in front of a crowd, under pressure and while drinking), a cut-and-wrap test (1/4 pound, on the nose, eyeballs only) and a plating-and-pairing challenge.

And this year? Well, Zeke didn’t make the top 3 (the winner was Steve Jones of the Cheese Bar in Portland, with Poul Price of Consider Bardwell Farm in 2nd and Anne Saxelby from Saxelby Cheese in 3rd), but that doesn’t mean he didn’t bring the strange down L.I.C.-way.

Check it out:

Yeah, he brought his own cow with him. Or a bull, I guess. Wearing a DiBruno hat. That’s hardcore. Weird, but hardcore–at least in the world of cheesemongers. Though I’m hoping that wasn’t a picture of his final display because, anthropomorphic farm animal aside, it looks rather less than lovely. Delicious, sure, but not exactly pretty.

Unless, of course, the cow was edible. Because if it, too, was made of cheese, then Zeke totally should’ve won the thing hands-down. Just sayin’.

Weird cow photo courtesy of @CMI_2011 on Twitter

2011 Cheesemonger Invitational [official website]