This week, the culinary world remembers and celebrates Anne Saxelby, New York’s iconic cheesemonger and champion of American artisan cheesemakers, two years after her passing. To honor her legacy, the Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund (ASLF) will transform Chelsea Market into a haven for cheese enthusiasts on September 13th, marking the second annual benefit event in support of its sustainable farming apprenticeship program.
An astounding roster of over 100 chefs, including culinary bigwigs like Riad Nasr, Lee Hanson, Michael Anthony, and Alice Waters, are slated to showcase curated dishes for attendees. A delightful spread of desserts, cocktails, spirits, and of course, cheese, will compliment the dishes as the food community comes together, commemorating Anne’s impact and championing future cheesemongers and farmers.
Tickets for the event are available on Eventbrite, with all proceeds benefiting the ASLF program. This program, inspired by Saxelby’s early engagements, provides fully-funded, month-long apprenticeships on sustainable farms, aiming to impart the intricacies of farm life, sustainable practices, and the artisan cheese trade to young adults. The ultimate objective: Encourage these apprentices to carve their entrepreneurial path in the spirit of Saxelby Cheesemongers.
Since its foundation after Anne’s untimely departure in 2021, ASLF has placed nearly 100 apprentices across 40 farms in 15 states. The program has doubled its outreach in just its second year, a testament to its growing significance.
Carrie, an alumnus of the program, spent their summer learning to make cheese at FireFly Farm in Accident, MD. “It was a transformational journey going into the make room and taking the cheese through its life process,” they reminisced. “My favorite thing is washing blue cheese…like with a hose! You get to watch the mold scrape away from it and see the beautiful rosy rind underneath.”
For Kayla Nelson, who learned the ropes at Talbott and Arding in Hudson, NY, the experience renewed her excitement for the food industry. She shared, “The thing that stuck out the most was being surrounded by people in the food industry who are so intentional in the way they interact with food. A lot of places are business first instead of food first.”
Both participants strongly recommend the program for anyone looking to learn more about farming, get a crash course in cheesemaking, or are looking to delve deeper into the artisan food world. “I definitely recommend it. It’s a really magical way to get a foot in the door right away,” said Nelson. “Farming is a difficult career to make lucrative, and there are a lot of good tips,information, and people I’ve picked up.”