Valerie Gurdal, Owner
Valerie moved to the Boston area from Miami, FL in 1980 to pursue a college education. Before moving to Boston she spent 6 months living in Madrid with her aunt and uncle. While in Madrid she developed a love for the daily market experience of visiting her local cheesemonger, bakery, meat purveyor and various fruit and vegetable stands. After arriving in Boston she sought out similar shops with an eye for the unique and inspiring and she soon discovered Formaggio Kitchen. While working in the kitchen at the well-respected Cambridge restaurant Chez Nous, she became acquainted with Ihsan Gurdal from her frequent trips to the shop. In 1984, she decided to work at Formaggio Kitchen full-time. Throughout the late 1980's the Valerie and Ihsan brought more and more exclusive items into the country from France, Italy and Spain.
In 2000 Valerie opened South End Formaggio, the first store of its kind in the neighborhood. Since then Valerie and Ihsan have worked together to create in their stores the "market-experience" that inspired their love of food.
Julie Cappellano, General Manager & Wine Buyer
Julie graduated from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont with a Culinary Arts Degree in 1998. She was assistant to Pastry Chef Karen Barker of Magnolia Grill (Durham, NC) when Karen won the James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef in the country and she had the opportunity to cook at the James Beard House in New York in 2002 while working as a line cook at Elaine’s on Franklin (Chapel Hill, NC). Years of working part-time in the cheese department of A Southern Season gourmet
shop in Chapel Hill contributed to Julie's move away from the heat of the kitchen and
into the world of wine and cheese.
Julie relocated to Boston in 2003 and has been at Formaggio Kitchen South End ever since, becoming the wine buyer for the shop in 2004. Julie has narrowed the focus of the wine department to include exclusively sustainably farmed, organic or biodynamic wines and small-grower Champagnes. She has thus far made wine and cheese related tasting & buying trips to France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Portugal and Italy.
David Robinson, Cheese Buyer
David learned to love food as a child growing up in Taos, New Mexico. He spent the first decade of his working life cooking in some of Boston's finest restaurants, including Marcuccio's and Radius, during which time he also traveled extensively through Italy and Spain. Dave eventually came to the realization that he didn't want to spend his life in the professional kitchen, and his desire to continue working with food brought him to South End Formaggio.
A trip to the Jura mountains to pick our wheels of Comte instilled a sense of respect for the cheese itself, and also for the immense amount of toil and love that cheesemakers put into each wheel. In May of 2010, after an educational trip to the Salon du Fromage in Paris with former cheese buyer Leslie Mann, David took over as cheese buyer for our store. Dave is currently focused on expanding and refining our selection of exclusive import cheese and will head back to the Jura each fall to choose our wheels of Comte at Marcel Petit's Fort Sainte Antoine.