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The Next Big Thing: New School American Cheese

One of the best chefs in the country, Eric Greenspan, reinvents the American classic and debuts it at the Del Mar Wine + Food Festival
Eric Greenspan standing with arms crossed against art mural

Eric Greenspan didn’t do what he did—go through the years of training at the world’s best restaurants, slog and hustle and cut a metric **** ton of onions and carrots, become one of SoCal’s star chefs, make his way onto national TV, open an L.A. restaurant that earned raves from everyone, including Jonathan Gold—to become known, widely, as “the cheese guy.

”But he’s not mad at it.“

As a chef, you’re going to give me this identity and platform that will ultimately expose you to the other things I do? I’ll take it all day long,” he says.At his former restaurant, The Foundry, instead of the usual cheese board appetizer, he decided to use the American classic–grilled cheese. It was just a different platform to expose his guests to new and interesting foods, whether it be jams or meats or sauces or pickled things. It took off. People went ape. He even wrote a cookbook,Greenspan’s done a few big things. He beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef. But his newest project should make him an American icon if there’s any justice in the world. He reinvented American cheese.


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American cheese, as most know it, is the single-serve ditty in plastic, made of powders and emulsifying agents. It is perfect as a melting agent for burgers, but not really tasty or particularly attractive, especially now that we’ve all awoken to a new dawn of truly good cheese.So Greenspan created it. Calls it New School American Cheese.“

As a chef you’re looking at raising the quality of every ingredient, and that was always the one ingredient I couldn’t find a better version of, no better alternative,” he says.

So he created it. Real butter, real cream, aged cheese. I’ve gotten a chance to taste it on a smash burger–just a simple riff of meat, bun, and New School—and it’s fantastic. We filmed a TV segment and the whole set, even the part-time vegans, were floored.

Eric comes on the podcast to tell us the creation story. He’ll be cooking burgers and featuring New School at the Del Mar Wine + Food Festival, one of its first forays into the market.

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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