Vanessa Simmons of Savvy Company.


About Vanessa Simmons

There is no one more passionate or knowledgeable about Canadian cheese than Vanessa Simmons, the cheese sommelier at Savvy Company in Ottawa. Savvy specializes in "creative social experiences," events where consumers can discover the world of wine, craft beer and artisan cheese with its wine and cheese sommeliers.

"Just as every wine has a story, so does every cheese," Vanessa says. "I take great joy in sharing the stories behind the cheeses—where they come from, how they’re made and who made them. There’s a little bit of science and a lot of love that goes into artisan cheeses. Their makers are nurturing by nature: they create these delights for others to enjoy. It’s my job to help spread the enjoyment of wine and cheese."

Vanessa has studied with the Cheese Education Guild (Level 2), Toronto, and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute, Basic Cuisine Certificate, Ottawa, and has worked as a chef. She served as a judge at the inaugural Canadian Cheese Awards and has also been on the jury for the prestigious Caseus competition for Quebec cheesemakers.

What’s the question people often ask her about cheese? "Can you eat the rind?" And the answer to that question is yes—unless it’s red and made of wax! Like wine, there are some rules of thumb for choosing and serving cheese but the main thing I try to relay to people is that cheese needs to be treated with care. It’s alive and it needs to breathe. It is best to wrap cheese in proper cheese or parchment paper and store it in a Ziploc bag or plastic container.