Alice Bergen Phillips is a cheesemonger in the Washington, D.C. area. Before venturing off on her own to start Cheesemonster, she worked as the head cheesemonger at Via Umbria, an Italian specialty food store in Georgetown.
Bergen Phillips, originally hailing from Chicago, grew up in a food-loving home. Some of her fondest memories took place on her maternal family’s farm in northern England, where she milked goats and gathered eggs with her grandparents.
After earning a degree in International Politics and graduating Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Bates College, Alice set out for D.C. to pursue a career in politics. However, she quickly found her side jobs working in the world of coffee, tea, wine and, of course, cheese, to be far more compelling.
Working at extensive cheese counters has required Alice to pull on complex knowledge about history, culture, science, artistry and math, developed over the years and centered on her childhood experiences with food. Most excitingly, she's found that customers look to her as their cheese confidant, pushing her to stay on top of a market that is constantly changing and evolving.
Her broad-ranging cheese knowledge was put to the test when she competed in the 2016 Cheesemonger Invitational – an all-day event comprised of various tests and challenges designed to try even the most seasoned cheese professional. To her delight, she was a competition finalist, one of the proudest moments of her career to date.
In November, 2018 Alice was honored to be a part of an all-woman culinary team that created a dining experience for the hallowed James Beard House.
She now delights in making cheese displays, teaching classes, and creating cheese pairings for others. Drop her a line if you want to talk cheese!