Cheese Bar is the passion project of Steve Jones, a cheesemonger, educator, and cheese ambassador. He entered the cheese world in the 1990s, opening several cheese counters in the Midwest. In 2006, Steve launched his own business, Steve’s Cheese, a small retail counter in Portland that quickly developed a cult following. In 2010, the business expanded to become Cheese Bar, a cheese counter and casual restaurant that offers a rotating menu built with artisan and farmstead products. Cheese Bar allows Steve to share his pursuit of interesting cheese and beverage pairings, a fascination that spurred many collaborations and ventures, culminating in the publication his first book, co-authored with Adam Lindsley, “Cheese Beer Wine Cider: A Field Guide to 75 Perfect Pairings.”
Steve’s experience also includes wholesaling, brokering, affinage, and marketing, while working with Provvista Specialty Foods, Neal’s Yard Dairy, the Cheese School of San Francisco, and Food by Hand. He is a founding member of the Portland Beer and Cheese Festival, the Portland Firkin Fest, and Portland’s The Wedge Festival. Steve has participated in national and international cheesemongering competitions, winning the second Cheesemonger Invitational in New York City. He has served multiple times as a judge for the American Cheese Society’s annual competition, the Good Food Awards, Oregon Beer Awards, and the American Dairy Goat Association. Steve’s work has received accolades in numerous regional and national media outlets, including The New York Times, Sunset Magazine, Travel + Leisure, and Culture. He has appeared in local and national radio and TV spots, including Portland’s Live Wire radio show, NPR’s The Splendid Table, and Good Day Oregon.
Keenan is a Portland native who worked at New Seasons for eight years. In his spare time he likes to ride his bike to creameries around the Pacific Northwest and paint pictures of cheese. Everyone loves Keenan’s knowledge and enthusiasm for cheese!
Nikki entered the ranks of cheese, cider, beer and spirits in an unconventional manner. While working in the animal husbandry field as a seasoned zookeeper, she took on a part time job on her days off as a cheesemonger at Orrman's Cheese in Charlotte, North Carolina. Since cheese and booze go hand in hand, she soon found herself working behind the bars of local cideries, breweries and even sales for a small distillery. Her inherent love of education and the communal aspect of cheese and cider led her to hosting paring classes all over the city. This continued even after moving to the West Coast where she freelanced under the name The Tipsy Monger. Nikki recently relocated to Portland and soon found her home at Cheese Bar where she enjoys chatting about cheese with anyone who will listen. She absolutely believes artisanal cheese and cider are for everyone, should not be intimidating but something to take delight in; a theme she brings to each and every class.
Rachel’s foray into the dairy world began in 1999 at the cheese counters of The Pasta Shop in Berkeley and Rockridge Market Hall in Oakland, California. More recently, she spent two years with the wholesale department of Tomales Bay Foods, the distribution arm of Cowgirl Creamery; a position which helped reinvigorate her interest in food & beverage, but most importantly, cheese. Rachel moved back to the PNW in 2018, and she jumped at the chance to dive back into the foodie world, joining the Cheese Bar crew in March of 2020.
Sarah began working in cheese in 2013 after earning her Master’s degree in Food, Culture, & Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. She began at Cheese Bar as an intern, but soon joined the team as server and monger. She has also spent time working at Zupan’s Market and Pasta Works. She enjoys being involved in the larger cheese community; she is a member of the American Cheese Society and has taught classes for the Oregon Cheese Guild. In January of 2020 she won the Cheesemonger Invitational held in San Francisco. Sarah loves learning about the many histories and traditions that have created the cheeses we know today. Her favorite styles are Alpines and washed rinds.