Dean of Curriculum and Maître Fromager
Max McCalman is America's first restaurant-based Maître Fromager, and Garde et Jure as designated by France's Guilde des Fromagers. McCalman, a veteran of the food and hospitality industries, spent most of his professional life as a Maître d' Hotel and Sommelier. He joined New York City-based restaurant Picholine in 1994 where, as Maître d'Hotel, he became a dedicated scholar of cheese and created that restaurant's fabled cheese program with Chef-Proprietor Terrance Brennan.
McCalman later established the critically acclaimed cheese programs at Artisanal Brasserie & Fromagerie restaurant, followed by the Artisanal Cheese Center, both in New York City. Picholine, Artisanal Brasserie and the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center created on-site "caves" to nurture cheeses to their peak stages of ripeness. This helped to create their world-renowned reputations for offering fabulous cheeses.
McCalman authored The Cheese Plate with David Gibbons (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2002) that was nominated for awards by the James Beard Foundation and by the International Association of Cooking Professionals. Their second book,
Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best (Clarkson Potter, 2005), an expansive reference on the world's finest cheeses and their wine pairings, won a 2006 James Beard Award. His new book,
Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager, was published November 2009 and won "Best in the World" books on cheese by Gourmand World CookBook Awards in Paris.
As Dean of Curriculum and Maître Fromager at Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, McCalman leads the charge to raise awareness and spread the joys of cheese to consumers and professionals. He is a highly visible advocate for artisanal cheese production and is renowned as one of the cheese world's living legends for his expertise, insight and passion. McCalman is a regular contributor to Cheese Connoisseur and to Culture magazines.
In 2010 McCalman was selected by an international jury of the French Food Spirit Awards for his contribution to the international understanding of French food culture. That same year he received an Odyssey award for Special Projects from Hendrix College.
McCalman is a frequent lecturer/teacher at various venues including The New School, the Culinary Institute of America in New York and in California, New York University, the Mediterranean Diet Conference sponsored by Oldways Preservation & Trust and the Mediterranean Foods Alliance, the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's New York Cooking School), the DeGustibus Chef's Tasting Series, the Institut du Fromage, Epcot's Annual Food & Wine Festival, as well as the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, where he regularly teaches courses. He has made appearances on the Television Food Network, the CBS Evening News, the Cable News Network, the Daily Show, Martha Stewart Living Television and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and has been featured on various radio programs. Additionally, McCalman has been featured in many publications ranging from the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to the Wine Spectator and Food & Wine magazines. McCalman frequently is a judge in cheese competitions both in the U.S. and Europe.
Max was one of the founding members of the American Cheese Society’s Certified Cheese Professionals committee and became chair of that committee August, 2012.
McCalman received his formal education at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. There he majored in Psychology (which has helped in his quest to nurture cheeses).