The 2024 Hot List: Josh Windsor | culture: the word on cheese
☰ menu   

The 2024 Hot List: Josh Windsor

This story is part of culture’s 2024 Hot List. Click here to learn more about the selection process and to see the entire list of recipients.\

Photo courtesy Josh Windsor

Josh Windsor

Senior Caves Manager and Affineur, Murray’s Cheese
New York City, New York

Josh Windsor studied philosophy in college and, like many philosophers, supported himself as a locksmith and systems integrator after graduation. As one ancient craft often leads to another, he transitioned to affinage in 2017 as a caves assistant in New York City. Today, he is the senior caves manager at Murray’s Cheese, where he nurtures the Cave-Aged line of specialty cheeses—including the 2019 American Cheese Society “Best in Show” Stockinghall Cheddar, and the 2022 World Cheese Awards “Best American Cheese” Greensward. Windsor is both an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional and a Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator. Always curious about how cheese ages, Windsor is an active member of the community biology lab, Genspace, where he explores the microbial world of cheese rinds. Windsor shares his love of all things dairy by teaching cheese appreciation, science, and history at Murray’s Cheese; and sensory evaluation for Cornell University’s Dairy Foods Extension program. In 2023, Windsor joined the board of directors for the Daphne Zepos Teaching Endowment, where he is proud to support cheese research and education.

Who is your biggest inspiration in the cheese world?

Pat Polowsky made a huge impact on how I approached my career. He had a great gift for inspiring curiosity and making very difficult concepts in science approachable. He was also exceedingly generous, and always took the time to respond to my numerous emails about the science of cheese. I wouldn’t have the understanding of cheese that I do today without his work and patience. He is truly missed.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve experienced or overcome inthe industry?

I feel that, as a whole, affinage in the United States faces several challenges. The American artisan cheese industry is still young. There are no producers that have 200-plus years of experience and the centuries of institutional knowledge that comes with that. In addition, the literature on affinage is sparse. Just learning the fundamentals of how to perform my job took a great deal of time. As several creameries mature, and the need for professional affineurs increases, we will need to find ways to educate and train more people in the art of maturing cheese.

Pair a celebrity with a cheese.

I think I’ll go with Tilda Swinton (having just watched Problemista). The cheese must be bold and scene-stealing; it needs to be a bit of chameleon, adapting equally well to the camp of Derek Jarman and the rigid aesthetic of Wes Anderson, or intensity of the Coen brothers. It will need to evolve and offer unexpected surprises after successive encounters. (Now I want to develop a cheese specifically for this purpose.) I am going to go with Greensward, our washed-rind take on Jasper Hill Farm’s Harbison. There is something equally familiar and quirky about this cheese. I have seen it served as a course at some of the nation’s top restaurants, yet I have no qualms about downing a wheel with a bag of potato chips. It has a bold bacon-y note and a foundation of earthy aromas that are difficult to pin down. Although not as well decorated as Tilda, it is one of our most award-winning cheeses.

What is an underrated cheese that everyone should know about?

Limburger! Limburger may be the most underrated cheese in this period of history. There was a time when it was one of the most popular cheeses in the country. I have seen formulations for Cheez Whiz from the 70s where Limburger was the main ingredient. Yet today, there is only one producer in the US. This is a travesty.

Related Articles

culture: the word on cheese

Culture is America's first and best magazine devoted to the love of cheese. Explore our website for stunning photos, cheesemaker profiles, recipes, wine, beer, and a community of readers always willing to help and chat.

Leave a Reply