Meet Kurt Mullican, a health coach turned cheese shop owner with co-founder and wife, Jackie. What these seemingly disparate fields have in common: celebrating food mindfully. The power couple’s shop, GREYS Fine Cheeses, is an East-Memphis favorite that offers the highest quality cheeses and accouterments, to create a sensory experience that celebrates the art, tradition, and process of cheese making.
How it all began
While working as a gym coach and meal prep chef, Kurt was commissioned by a client to create a cheeseboard. Kurt personalized the project to be a participatory experience by including informational notes about each cheese. This was wildly received, and business started picking up from there.
Why do you think this format of interactive cheese-eating is so popular?
There’s a lot of hard work that goes into making really great cheese, the processes of which predate history. People find it cool to read about, and it makes them appreciate the food more. That’s why GREYS Fine Cheeses also holds workshops that cover topics such as cheese origin, tradition, pairings, tastings, etc.
How did your work in the fitness industry transfer over and why is intention important to both food and fitness?
Autonomy: the biggest role of a coach is not telling someone what to do, but rather getting them to do it themselves. We all need some sort of measuring stick to know if we’re improving. The intent behind this method and that of crafting a cheese plate is no different; the more you put into the process forces you to learn about putting together all of your meals and changes how you interact with the plate.
How does the artistry of cheese-making connect with the creative elements of your brand and people’s interaction with the various elements?
Cheeses are most beautiful with the rinds on them. Something people may not know is that the rinds actually tell you a lot about the cheese, such as age and fermentation process. The story is part of the art.
Food boards give you a way to eat beautiful food without scarfing it down, especially because cheese is a rich food, and a little goes a long way. Being able to hold this ancient food preservation technique in your hand and plate it in such a way helps you appreciate it on so many levels. That’s what’s great about the art of cheese-making, and how it translates into our consumption of food in general.
Rule of thumb for cheese
When structuring your meals, be mindful of serving sizes. For fats, include one thumb’s worth – that’s a whole ounce of cheese per meal!
Can you put together an ideal spring cheeseboard for us and recommend some wine accompaniments?
Spring is a time when things are getting warm, so we switch to brighter, more lactic flavors representative of the season.
I’m a huge fan of Spanish goat cheese and tomato jam on a 34-degrees crisp cracker. I would pair that with sparkling white wine or Cava.
I also like Brebis, a French sheep cheese, and pair it with a black cherry confit. This combination also serves well with Cava or sparkling rosé.
For more information, visit Greyscheese.com.
By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Sam Sikes