Meet Our Faculty
At Murray’s, we know cheese, so who better to teach our award-winning courses than those in the cheese trenches every day? From experienced cheesemongers to wholesale directors, from our cavemaster to our Kroger field team, Murray’s faculty takes cheese knowledge to a whole new level. We also host our beer, wine, and whiskey friends, as well as incredible producers of the products we’re proud to feature in the shop.
Murray's In-House Faculty
DAN BELMONT, EDUCATION & EVENTS MANAGER
Dan Belmont has always been hungry. Ordering off the adult menu since he was six. Fast forward to college in North Carolina – four years of glorious grits, beautiful biscuits, fab fried chicken and ballin’ B-B-Q. After college, he moved back to his home state to pursue a career in theatre in the big apple – and it’s here Dan found himself in a true food mecca. With several regional and off-off-off-off-OFF-broadway credits under his belt, he decided to make a modest attempt at paying off his student loans by joining the team at B.R. Guest Hospitality as a Maitre’d and Event Sales Manager. It’s here he refined his passion for food and wine; and, when it was time to move on, he knew the next step was to dedicate his skill set to local producers of artisan products. Dan fell in love with the Finger Lakes wine region, working as a brand ambassador for wineries at tastings and events in the city and hospitality consultant for winery tasting rooms. He joined Murray’s Cheese as a Cheese Cave Apprentice, spent time running the apprenticeship as the Cavemaster’s Assistant, spent a year as a Cheesemonger at Murray’s flagship retail store, and now finds himself at home teaching in the Murray’s Classroom. Dan and his love of food and wine has been featured in the New York Times, Playboy.com, Gotham Magazine, HuffPost Taste, Culture Magazine and Real Simple Lifestylers.
ASHLEY BRYANT, EDUCATION ASSOCIATE
After working in restaurants and the special events industry for many years from the Virgin Islands to California Ashley moved to NYC in search of cheese. As a monger on the counter at Murray’s she tasted through hundreds of wheels of cheese and was completely romanced. She now works full time in the Murray’s Education Department as the Education & Events Coordinator. You can find her in the classroom several days a week preaching about her favorite subject, CHEESE and of course all of the tasty pairings that accompany it!
LISA GRIFFIN, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF RETAIL
Lisa Griffin was born and raised in Los Angeles. After studying History and Art History in Florence, Italy, she eventually decided to follow her heart to food. She moved to NYC and graduated from the International Culinary Center top of her class. She worked in fine dining for 7 years before joining the Murray’s team as a cheesemonger. Lisa has been at Murray’s for two years and was just promoted from Bleecker Store Manager to Associate Director.
BRETT RAPPAPORT, STORE MANAGER
After spending almost 10 years in the finance world, Brett decided to do the modern-day version of running off to join the circus--he went to culinary school. Following several years working in the kitchens of NYC, the siren's call of cheese could not be avoided, and Brett found his place at Murray's. When not preaching the word of the curd, Brett spends his time extolling the virtues of living in Queens and waiting for the day he makes his fortune in the Beanie Baby market.
GRAHAM STEELE, HEAD MONGER & EDUCATION ASSOCIATE
Graham fell in love with food in Lyon, France where he conducted his undergraduate studies in Language and History. After grad school for Linguistics he came to New York and taught but wanted to be around food, to touch it, enjoy it and share it with people. He has always sought out a job that he enjoyed, not just one that paid the bills. After working in private events first at The Modern and then as an event manager for Tom Colicchio for several years he came to Murray’s because he missed working hands on with food. As a head monger and then senior head monger at Murray's he jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the education program, first volunteering and then teaching. He now divides his time between the classroom and the counter sharing his knowledge of all things cheese!
Murray's Guest Faculty
Amanda Parker, Director of Brand Strategy
Amanda has always loved food. While working (or as she says, bored out of her mind!) as an assistant at a large company, Amanda came to Murray's for a tasting, after which she decided to learn more about specialty food and cheese. (after all, she is an Italophile who lived in the charmed city of Bologna for a year as a college student) Soon Amanda was working behind the cheese counter at our Grand Central store, before her rapid rise to Store Manager of our Bleecker Street location. Now Amanda helps spread good cheese around the country through our partnership with Kroger, the nation's largest supermarket chain. When Amanda's not traveling the country training staff and setting cheese cases, you can find her infectious enthusiasm and incredible knowledge in the very same classroom that served as her introduction to Murray's.
Elizabeth Chubbuck, VP of Sales
Elizabeth found true love with Murrays Cheese on a first date on Bleecker Street- not with a handsome Prince Charming but with 200 of her new favorite cheeses. Knowing she had landed somewhere special, Elizabeth, who was then working at a national magazine an ad account manager,, began entertaining her clients in our classes on a regular basis, then attending classes on her own at every available chance, and really upping her educational ante by volunteering in the Murray's Classroom at any and every opportunity. After a life-long love affair with all things dairy, Elizabeth took the plunge into the world of cheese, and joined Murray's as a Wholesale Manager. Now Elizabeth spends her days consulting with top-notch chefs at restaurants across the country, including Jean-Georges, Le Bernadin, and The Modern, training restaurant staff on the intricacies of cheese service, and educating our customers in the Murray's classroom.
Summer Coulter, Training Manager
After a painfully soul sucking career in administration, marketing and event planning Summer decided to focus all her nerdy glory in the green pastures of Cheesedom. Like so many others at Murray's, Summer was plagued with the desire to "love what you do". She started working at Murray's Grand Central (a.k.a. Cheese Bootcamp) as a cheesemonger in 2011. After she got her bearings she became part of the Red Jacket Training group for Murray's exclusive partnership with Kroger. She loved flying and teaching the love of cheese so much that in January of 2013 she became a full time Kroger team member. Meeting and training mongers and cheesemasters all over the country and bringing real cheese to real people is a dream come true for Summer. She has never been so happy- especially when you consider she married the man of her dreams, James in June of 2012.