Artisan Max McCalman of MAXVOL, Inc. - Biography

New York, NY

August 2014

An early enthusiast, Max McCalman reached out for his first piece of cheese when he was 2 years old. He was also denied young: from 6 to 12, McCalman lived in Brazil, where his family was told to parboil milk and avoid dairy.

Upon returning to the States, McCalman ate as much cheese as possible and dived headlong into the hospitality industry with a restaurant job during college. After graduating, McCalman worked his way up the hospitality ranks, honing French technique and developing his wine palate at Little Rock’s Restaurant Jacques et Suzanne, becoming Maître d'Hotel at Trusthouse Forte Hotel, and working at Sheraton properties in Texas and New Jersey, and later The New York Hilton. By 1990, McCalman was general manager of Manhattan’s Water Club, and by 1995, he was maître d'hotel at Picholine. There, he spearheaded the installation of the first temperature- and humidity-controlled cheese cave in a North American restaurant. Success—and a second restaurant, the cheese-centric Artisanal Bistro—prompted McCalman to write his first book, The Cheese Plate. The James Beard Award-winning Cheese: A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Best followed, as did growing demand for larger cheese caves.

The Artisanal Cheese Center opened in 2003, with state-of-the-art cheese caves, a production area, a classroom, sales offices, and McCalman as maître fromager and dean of curriculum. Still working as maître fromager for Picholine and Artisanal, McCalman wrote a third book based on the Artisanal curriculum’s Master Series for professionals, Mastering Cheese, which one “Best Cheese Book in the World” at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in Paris. McCalman eventually separated from the restaurants and the center, focusing on a career that by now included work as an educator, writer, consultant, judge, and critic in the United States and Europe. A founder and now chairman of the American Cheese Society’s Certified Cheese Professional Program, McCalman’s “Swatchbook of Wine and Cheese Pairings,” will be featured as his first mobile phone application.