Merchandise Manager, Dean & Deluca
New York, New York
I just got back from three days in Italy. I was in Milan and Parma, then I went to Modena to see how balsamic vinegar is made. I had the next day free, so I went to Bologna to see the vegetable markets, the fish markets, the salumerias, and the cheese shops. It was beautiful.
I first walked into Dean & Deluca around 1980 and said, “Someday, I’m going to work here,” because these guys have a passion for what they do. I studied art history in school, but I didn’t want to work in a museum for $19,000 a year.
We look for classic, simple, and close-to-the-ground products. Last year, we were really into figs. We did figs in syrup and fig molasses. This year, we’re exploring a range of products that use Italian bitter cherries. We’re doing bitter-cherry jam and balsamic vinegar that’s aged in cherry wood. My job is similar to what a curator does for a museum: I acquire objects and assemble collections. We develop a theme and put on a show.