Leah Park Fierro worked as a pastry chef and traveled the world before landing a job as a cheesemonger; now, she owns and runs this LA shop. In addition to a highly curated collection of cheeses and accompaniments, Milkfarm offers sandwiches and cookies, plus craft beers and wines, which can be enjoyed on-site. The selection of around 100 cheeses (150 during the holidays) rotates frequently, but not to worry—highly knowledgeable staff are at the ready to guide customers towards that perfect wedge or wheel.
Milkfarm engages customers by providing fun and unusual events, such as sake and cheese pairing classes and even Girl Scout cookie pairing classes. Educational events like Meet the Maker demonstrations put customers in contact with local producers, while Parmigiano Reggiano cracking parties feature an explanation of how the cheese is made,
plus samples from a freshly cracked wheel.
“My goal is to spread the gospel of fine cheese to everyone,” Fierro says. The shop’s local involvement and inviting atmosphere help her to do just that.
culture: Do you have a mentor that inspired you to become a cheesemonger?
Leah Park Fierro: I grew up watching Yan Can Cook, Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, and a funny show called How to Boil Water. Those old shows definitely inspired me to get into food.
culture: Is there a book or online resource you reference most in your work?
LPF: Culture magazine, obviously! We also refer to The Oxford Companion to Cheese (Oxford University Press, 2016) and The Cheese Lover’s Companion (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2007) for quick Q&A.
culture: What’s the coolest new food book or TV show you’ve come across lately?
LPF: Ugly Delicious. Gotta support my Korean-brother-of-another-mother [David Chang]. The Thanksgiving episode was a mirror image of my family experience and a good example of an immigrant family assimilating to American food culture and traditions