Meet our Mongers

The cheese business brings together people from a myriad of backgrounds. The tie that binds though is simple - all we ask is that you love cheese.

We've asked a few questions of our mongers, so you can get to know the folks behind the counter.


juliana_smJuliana Uruburu

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 1987

First cheese memory: When I was three years old my dad used to take me to our favorite cheese shop every weekend. He would stand me on the counter and the cheesemonger would always hand me a big chunk of sharp cheddar to nibble on. I would savor it for most of the afternoon.

Favorite moment behind the counter: My favorite moment behind the cheese counter was meeting my husband.

When not mongering: I'm an expert organizer & color specialist.

alma_smAlma Avalos

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 1991

First cheese memory: I was a little girl shopping with my siblings and my mom and we used to run by the huge & stinky wheels of cotija cheese. We loved the taste but could not stand the smell….

Favorite moment behind the counter: One holiday season we received our British cheese selection from Neal’s Yard Dairy and we had to taste 40 wheels of Stilton and put them in order of ripeness. The entire building smelled like Colston Bassett Stilton – it was amazing.

When not mongering: I'm an adventurer and thrill seeker. 

Noelle Mosolf

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 2011

First cheese memory: Eating Monterey Jack when I was a little girl. I had been swimming all day with my sister and cousins at the community pool and I still remember how delicious that cool, salty simple piece of cheese was.

Favorite moment behind the counter: Too many to name just one -- many of them center around my coworkers, who are hilarious and very passionate people, and their stories about cheese, food or other random happenings.

When not mongering: I like to attempt to cook recipes that are way over my head, read, go camping or just hang out at home with my sister and fiancé.

jane_smJane Lyon

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 2012

First cheese memory: I remember being younger and dreading when my dad would come home from the cheese shop with all those “stinky” cheeses…our whole kitchen would smell of it. How could you be expected to eat something whose odor would "leak" from inside the fridge? I did not realize what I was missing, until I was finally convinced to taste one, and I haven’t stopped tasting since.

Favorite moment behind the counter: I love discovering all the new and unfamiliar cheeses. The fun is sharing those moments with the customers.

When not mongering: I love the outdoors, water and animals! A great day includes the lake, friends/family and my favorite Yellow Labrador, Maggie.

andi sm.jpgAndi Berlin

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 2012

First cheese memory: Making a caprese salad with string cheese, and being satisfied with the results

Favorite moment behind the counter: When a customer gets excited about their cheese samples, I feel like we're sharing a special moment. I love connecting with people and making an impact in their culinary lives. I also like saying, “Just a second, I'm cutting the cheese,” with a straight face.

When not mongering: I eat spicy Korean tofu soup about 80 percent of the time, and spend the other 20 percent listening to Shakira, pretending to be a food journalist, freezing things and then thawing them, collecting Japanese memorabilia and flossing.

Mika Kerautretmikamonger

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 2012

First cheese memory: With my dad and sister in Seattle. We cut the top off a wheel of Chaource and savored bite after bite. It has been one of my favorite cheese ever since.

Favorite moment behind the counter: So far I would have to say on Christmas Eve when I got to speak French with customers all day.

When not mongering: I like to explore San Francisco, eat fine foods and drink cognac with my friends.

Angie Bush

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 2013

First cheese memory: Sitting on my Grandma's lap eating slices of Velveeta and playing Cinch. cheese monger angie bush

Favorite moment behind the counter: Breaking down a whole wheel of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar in front of a customer. After previously tasting a piece of the cheese, she really wanted to buy a pound of it, but we only had two small pieces left. Luckily, she arrived just a few minutes after receiving the new wheel, so I got to break it down in front of her. She was so excited to be able to watch the process that she ended up purchasing a pound and a half instead.

When not mongering: I am practicing American Sign Language or volunteering at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, helping out with their cooking classes.

Lucy Hoffman

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 2013

First cheese memory: My mom used to put miniature Babybel cheeses in my lunchbox as a child and I was far more interested in expressing my creativity with the ball of red wax coating than I was in eating the cheese.

Favorite moment behind the counterHaving grown up in Rockridge, my favorite moments involve running into old friends and teachers at the cheese counter and helping them select their dream cheese.

When not mongering: I'm climbing hills and swimming in rivers with my scrappy dog, Roscoe.

Mandy Limbach

Working at The Pasta Shop Cheese Counter since: 2013

First cheese memory: I was about 5 years old and my parents took me and my sisters to a nice dinner party at one of their friends' house. One of the things they had for an appetizer was a giant bowl of mozzarella bocconcini, and I could not stop eating them - they were and continue to be one of my absolute favorite snacking foods.

Favorite moment behind the counter: The first time I was really comfortable being able to help a customer find the perfect cheese. There are literally hundreds of options at the counter, and people come to us for our knowledge and expertise so it feels great knowing someone is walking away with a cheese that will complete their meal or occasion.

When not mongering: I'm dancing, teaching Pilates, or blogging about cheese, wine and bread.

Rockridge Market Hall
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Rockridge Market Hall
5655 College Avenue, Suite 201
Oakland, CA 94618
phone: 510-250-6000

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