There are so many great, knowledgeable people who work at Murray’s that we wanted to highlight some of them and ask some cheese-centric questions!
This month, meet Nick Tranchina, the Executive Vice President of Murray’s Cheese. Yes, Nick is now the Big Cheese at Murray’s, but he started many years ago as a volunteer in our classrooms, and worked his way up through our Bleecker counter and many other jobs. That means he’s got a lot of cheese knowledge, and a lot of Murray’s knowledge too. Read on to read about Nick’s childhood obsession with cheese that became a full time job, what his favorite cheese at the moment is, and more.
Where are you originally from? Did you grow up eating and enjoying cheese?
I was born in Manhattan, but moved to the suburbs as a little kid. Cheese was one of my main forms of sustenance growing up. I ate cheese sandwiches (bread/cheese/lettuce) for lunch most days, much to the confusion of my peers. I started with cottage cheese sandwiches, and then as I got older I began experimenting with whatever I could get my hands on. My father and I did the food shopping every week, so I was able to select different cheeses to try on a pretty constant basis – various Asiagos, goudas, triple cremes, mozzarella, etc.
How did you get into cheese, and what brought you to Murray’s?
Like I said, I grew up infatuated with cheese. While in grad school, I found out that you could take cheese classes for free at Murray’s if you volunteered to help clean up afterwards. Seemed like a no-brainer to me. I started doing that a few times a week, and was eventually offered a job on the counter at our Bleecker store. Murray’s has grown a lot since then. I’ve been lucky enough to work a bunch of different jobs here.
What is your favorite cheese at the moment and why?
Well, we’re in the middle of tomato season, so this is the time of year when I need to eat burrata a few times a week. In a month we’ll be hitting our apple season stride, and I’ll transition to clothbound cheddar. Fresh apples, peanut butter, and Quicke’s Cheddar is my go-to fall snack.
We are celebrating all things Italian this month. What is your favorite Italian cheese?
This is a difficult question to answer. The only cheese I always (always) have in my fridge is Parmigiano Reggiano. It ends up in a lot of things I cook, and is also a great snack. When it’s freshly cut from a just opened wheel, it’s the best cheese in the world.
How do you use Murray’s Italian products at home? Do you have a favorite use for them?
I eat pasta at least every other day. Probably more. The Rustichella D’Abruzzo brand we sell is the best I’ve ever found. I use olive oil (generally Italian) in just about everything I cook. I mentioned the Parm. I always have balsamic vinegar around to dress up some salad, fresh tomatoes, or roasted vegetables.
What is your favorite thing about working at Murray’s?
Uh…Is it too obvious to say “eating cheese?”