Welcome to “Who the Folk?!” Every week on Monday we feature a new member of the community as our “Person of the Week.” Last week week we got to know Skyler Nowinski. This week meet Benjamin Roberts! Know someone we should feature? Nominate them by sending an email to [email protected].
Benjamin: Nope. I attended Macalester college in St Paul, moved back to the east coast where I am originally from, and then circled back to Minneapolis for a slower pace of life.
TCJ: You’re the Big Cheese at the France 44 Cheese Shop. First, how many times have you heard that joke?
Banjamin: My business card says my title is Cheesemonger In Chief. So we obviously don’t take ourselves all that seriously. The business has grown from 2 employees to 30 but I still don’t think of myself as much of a big cheese.
TCJ: Anyway, I can’t imagine most kids grow up thinking they’ll run a cheese shop, so how’d you end up with this career?
Benjamin: Like most good creative writing/religion majors I ended up working as a business analyst on Wall street. I wasn’t much for the corporate lifestyle and so I escaped out of the 9-5 to manage a restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. Upon my return to Minnesota I lucked into this gig by answering an ad on Craigslist. Retail is a delight compared to managing a restaurant.
TCJ: What’s your favorite cheese of the moment?
Benjamin: Comte is my special cheese friend that’s always there for me. Sometimes I might flirt with a Cheshire or a gooey goat cheese, but I always come home to Comte. Tiny bit sweet, nutty, and incredibly versatile. It’s a perfect snacking cheese and is also killer on a grilled cheese sandwich or tossed in an omelet.
TCJ: Are you involved in any other TC organizations?
Benjamin: I’ve just joined the board of the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute. It’s a non-profit dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills and homework, emphasizing cross-curriculum creativity.
TCJ: We’re taking an informal survey. Which of the many Jewish summer camps gets you most ferklempt?
Benjamin: Camp Eisner in Great Barrington, MA.
TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Benjamin: Rosh Hashanah. Fall is my favorite season and the New Year is always my time to reflect and switch gears for the year ahead. It’s a perfect time of year for a fresh start.
TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Benjamin: Kasha Knishes are just the most awesome treats on the planet. Flakey, salty, chewy, oniony, and dense. Someone needs to start making some Kasha Knishes here in the TC.
TCJ: Who’s the coolest Jew?
Benjamin: Kevin Youkilis because there are, like, two Jewish professional athletes.
TCJ: Have you been to Israel? What is your favorite memory?
Benjamin: I’ve been twice. Walking through the suq in Jerusalem and smelling the spices is not only one of my favorite Israel memories, it is one of my favorite memories of my entire life.
TCJ: What’s your favorite fall activity?
Benjamin: Walking my dog with my wife and son through the fall colors is pretty unbeatable.
TCJ: Give us one more reason why you’re folking awesome!
Benjamin: I’m a certified Microsoft Excel Pivot Table WarlockClick here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!