She opened the Mozzarella Company way back in 1982, after returning from Italy frustrated--not at the city's lifestyle or our inability to gesture frantically while holding normal conversation, but at the shortage of good, fresh cheese.
Back then Lambert's fledgling company produced no more than 100 pounds of mozzarella a week. But these days she stacks culinary awards on her shelf, writes cookbooks and teaches. Restaurants brag about serving her brand. Hell, even South African Airlines stocks her cheese.
We caught up with her by phone on her way to another cooking class gig. One thing you'll never catch her doing? Ordering fried mozzarella...
1. Why Mozzarella Company? Why not the Stilton Company? Because Mozzarella was my favorite cheese when I lived in Italy. I love Mozzarella and tomato in a salad. You can't do that with Parmigiano Reggiano.
2. Do mice really prefer Limburger? It depends where the mice live.
3. Did you root for Tom or Jerry? I thought Tom and Jerry were the peanut guys.
4. When you see fried Mozzarella on a menu, do you scream? No, but I don't order it.
5. Will Deep Ellum [where her company is located] bounce back? I sure hope so. It's really pitiful right now.
6. When is the last time you had Cheez Whiz? Oh...I don't even know. For sure I've never had it in the squeeze bottle. So it was back when it came in jars.
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7. The only thing better than cheese is...? Wine.
8. What's your favorite M & Ms color? Brown. They even have blue now. I think that's gross.
9. Happy Days; Chachi or no Chachi? I don't know what that means.
10. If the world was limited to one kind of potato chip, it would be...? What I really like is Fritos. I love them. The only potato chip I know is Lay's.