A simple yet well-appointed neighborhood cheese shop in the heart of Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights. Sounds just about right. But make that cheese vegan and it becomes a movement. Riverdel Cheese is the creation of Michaela Grob, a corporate world convert who loves animals, listened to her heart and looked for another way.
Overseeing 350 employees, 20 offices and traveling 80% of the year left Michaela feeling empty, a job she once loved was no longer bringing her happiness. Her entrepreneurial minded boss had unknowingly sparked a fire within her, and even though she wanted to make a change, she resisted jumping ship. Instead, she took a methodical path to finding her professional joy. She knew herself too well to throw caution to the wind, she needed a well laid out plan. Michaela took her time, planning for about a year about what she would do and how she would skillfully make her transition.
She got her ducks in a row and created her business plan. Her idea to become a shopkeeper was inspired by Miyoko Schinner’s vegan cheese cookbook and the realization the no one in New York City was offering a wide variety of vegan cheeses and fine foods. She knew that starting a business was a risk and all the planning in the world couldn’t take that away but she kept listening to a voice deep inside to keep moving her vision forward.
Riverdel, named after her rescue dog River and shelter cat Fidel, opened its doors in November 2015. Michaela is a true animal lover and now runs a business that aligns with this love. We talk about her transition from animal eater to vegetarian and eventually to vegan. We talk about what it takes to take the leap and follow that voice inside. She gives us insight into her artisan cheese beginnings and shares tips for making aged cheese at home. We were so fortunate to have indulged in her signature creations as well as some of the brands she carries in her shop. At first bite, we think you’d all agree that Riverdel cheese has mastered the secret to creating rich and creamy cheeses that satisfy even the most discerning palette. And we’d be remiss if we did not to mention the best part, her products do not rely on a dairy cow for their exquisite taste.
Thanks so much for tuning in this week, please share this episode with your friends and family especially anyone you know in the New York City area. From anywhere in the northeast, Riverdel is surely worth the trip.
Episode 37 Show Notes
Main Street Vegan Academy – Michaela is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator
Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner