Photograph by Iain Bagwell
The monger is becoming the maker.
Before he entered a world of cows, goats, and sheep, and studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, Gaddis worked as a cop in Ellijay, Georgia. In 2003 he moved to Atlanta to helm the cheese shop at Star Provisions, where his keen nose and curated selection earned praise from both local and national corners. In addition to managing the cheese shop, Gaddis crafted Bacchanalia’s cheese cart selection, a relic of fine dining from decades past.
Since I’ve known Gaddis, he’s never failed to impress or surprise. “Cheese,” I’d say to him, and he’d give me exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. Below, Gaddis talks about why he made the switch and how Atlanta’s love for cheese has changed over the years.
Tim Gaddis and Star Provisions cheese. The two seem inseparable in my mind. What happened?
Nothing really happened. I had this opportunity to work with Many Fold Farm, and I took it. I’ve been doing cheese retail for eleven years, and I had heard about this job as a general manager, a cheese house manager. It seemed like a good fit. It’s another avenue of cheese to follow outside of retail and more directly involved in making the cheese.
At what point did you realize that this was the next step?
After so many years in retail, you’re always thinking that it may be time to try something else, a change of pace and a chance to further your career. Many Fold Farm sends out weekly inventory updates and one of them said that they were looking to hire.
What will you be doing there?
I will be overseeing the overall operation and that includes sales, marketing, and a lot of office work. I think any cheesemonger thinks that somewhere in the back of their head they’re going to be making cheese one day. The same way any line cook thinks that they’re going to be running their own place one day.
How has your time at Star Provisions shaped your career?
It’s made my career. It’s where I’ve built my career and the reason why I have any reputation at all.
How have you seen Atlanta’s love for cheese grow and mature since your time at Star Provisions? People are more interested in cheese, and maybe it’s just out of my deep love and affection for locally made products, but I’ve seen people become more interested in locally made cheese.
At first when you’re trying to sell American cheeses, they just wanted French. Now, I see a whole lot more people asking, “What’s made locally from Georgia or Tennessee?” The local cheese-making scene has exploded.
I can’t count how many times you’ve been recognized, locally and nationally, for your work at Star Provisions. What’s next in store for the cheese shop?
Carolyn Bender [from Alon’s Bakery] is taking over, and she’s just as a passionate and as driven about cheese as I’ve ever been. That has made my decision to move on easier, knowing that I’m leaving the store in capable hands.