Cheesemonster Studio is a woman-owned, full service cheese catering company, a space for specialty cheese and wine classes and a private event venue located in Brightwood, DC. The Studio is regularly open on Thursday-Saturday evenings for wine and cheese service featuring a carefully curated selection of seasonal offerings for our friends and neighbors to enjoy. Our Studio is also a hub for local cheesemongers and beverage professionals to be able to deep dive into specific aspects of the industry they feel passionately about and share with our customers.
Alice Bergen Phillips
Alice Bergen Phillips is a cheesemonger in the Washington, D.C. area. Before starting Cheesemonster as a mobile catering company in 2017, 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. 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, 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. 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 clients.
After graduating from American University with a Communications degree, Hilarey Leonard started a 15-year career in broadcast video production, working on award-winning programs all over the world with clients including Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and HGTV. In 2014 Hilarey and her husband, Brian, opened their first bar, Lost & Found, with a focus on craft beer and whiskey in the newly bustling Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC. In 2017 they opened a second location in Chinatown, Free State Atlantic Bar, focusing on Mid-Atlantic cocktails, craft beer and a robust wine selection. Hilarey is a Level 1 Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and has a passion for teaching and learning about wine. She has run the wine and spirits program at both bars, and has created lasting relationships with local distilleries, breweries and winemakers. Loving her role as an eternal host, she most enjoys leading special tastings and coordinating private events for clients.
Brian is a 15 year veteran of the DC restaurant and bar industry and is currently the co-owner and managing partner of Lost & Found, which opened in winter 2014 and was quickly named City Paper’s ‘BEST NEW BAR’ in 2015 and Free State Atlantic Bar in Chinatown. Brian is a graduate of the University of Maryland and an Eastern Shore of Maryland native, which inspired the Free State concept. Formerly, Brian worked for Bedrock Management, serving as General Manager of Nanny O’Brien’s Irish Pub for 7 years, continuously increasing its sales and profits. Prior to Nanny’s, Brian opened and managed RocketBar in one of the busiest nightlife neighborhoods in the District, Gallery Place next to the Capital One Arena. Brian is highly experienced in finance, personnel management and business development. He has a high level of expertise and passion and for craft beer and manages the beer program at both bars and Cheesemonster Studio.