For some people in the world of food, it isn’t about composing a dish or a cocktail or overseeing a balanced wine list. For some people, it’s just about one thing, one love amidst the trove of food and drink products. For Michele Buster, for the past 26 years, that one thing is cheese.
Recently dubbing herself the Head Treasure Hunter when asked what she actually did, Buster has spent many years cultivating expertise in specialty foods of the Mediterranean. Like most people who fall hard for cheese, Buster fed her passion with firsthand experience, living abroad in Italy and Spain, tasting their rich array of cheeses and observing local artisanship with her own eyes. As any good traveler does, Buster built her career on bringing home the treasures she’d tasted abroad and being the voice of the people who made them. Over the past decade, she has been instrumental in shaping the emergence of European products in the American marketplace. She has done this noble work alongside partner-formed Forever Cheese, which focuses on cheeses and specialty products from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Croatia.
When not sourcing products in Europe, Buster frequently travels across the United States, conducting classes and tastings for specialty stores and restaurants. A respected part of the cheese community, she is a member of the prestigious International Guilde des Fromagers. The PDO Sao Jorge Consortium in Portugal inducted her as an honorary member, and she was also recognized with an award from Murcia, Spain, for being the person who most stimulated the agronomy of the region.
Buster has been written up on numerous occasions from the Philadelphia Inquirer and News Day to trade magazines like Culture as well as the prestigious Travel and Leisure where she was asked to talk about one of her favorite places in the world. She was featured on the cover of Cheese Connoisseur Magazine and most recently, was profiled by the Wine Spectator as a “One-Woman Flavor Crusade.”
In an era where regional and local flavors are at the forefront, Buster is the kind of passionate champion every product needs.
Check out what Michele is up to at: