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Ask a Chef: Celebrating local cheese

By Chef Johnny McAdams for Harmons | Posted - Aug 21st, 2014 @ 2:14pm

As a chef I often get asked what my favorite food is. It can be hard to nail down just one, because I love pretty much everything. I will admit that one of my favorite foods of all time is cheese. From sharp cheddar to more complex flavors with hints of apple, habanero, rosemary and more I haven't really met a cheese I didn't like.

Being a chef at Harmons has given me the unique opportunity to try delicious cheeses from all over the world, thanks to our amazing "Cheese Island." If you haven't had the chance to visit Cheese Island at your local Harmons, do yourself a favor and stop by today. Choosing from so many delicious options can be overwhelming, but you'll be greeted by our knowledgeable cheese mongers who will guide you through selecting the perfect cheese for any occasion (and you'll get to try delicious samples too!).

What culinary questions do you have? Let usknow! Email our Harmons chefs at

Harmons Cheese Island provides customers the opportunity to try unique and delicious cheeses from all corners of the globe, but one of the best things that we showcase is our incredible selection of local cheese. Harmons cheese mongers travel the state to find the very best cheese Utah has to offer, and with so many tasty options you can't really go wrong.

One of my favorite brands is Beehive Cheese Company. Beehive Cheese is made by hand in small batches and the quality is second-to-none. My personal favorites are Barely Buzzed (paired with fresh kiwi fruit, mangos and grapes), Promontory Habanero on crackers or melted over a crostini and Brie (try wrapping it in puff pastry and baking it for an amazing appetizer!).

Another one of my favorite local cheese producers is Gold Creek Farms. Try their Smoked Parmesan over fresh tomatoes or to finish a sauce. Its smoky goodness can't be beat! If you are in the mood for fondue, our stores make special cheese blends in-house that are the perfect compliment to fresh veggies, fruit and bread.

Cheese makes a delicious snack, sauce or side dish, but I also love to use it in my main course recipes. If you are looking for inspiration, try delicious Cheesy Potato Soup served with my twist on a classic Ham and Cheese Sandwich:

Cheesy Potato Soup Ingredients:

1 Large onion minced
2 Tbs. minced garlic
8 potatoes peeled and large diced (1" by 1")
1 lb. thick cut bacon cut into 1/2" strips
4 1/2 C. vegetable stock
4 C. shredded sharp cheddar
16 oz. Brie
2 C. heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste


1. In a large, stockpot brown and crisp bacon over medium heat.
2. Remove bacon from the pot and place on a paper towel and leave the bacon grease in the pot.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the pot with the bacon grease and cook until translucent.
4. Add the potatoes, stock, and cook until potatoes are tender.
5. In a separate sauce pan on low heat add the heavy cream, Brie, and sharp cheddar.
6. Melt into a sauce.
7. Add the cheese sauce to the stockpot, mix together and salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Ingredients:

One loaf of sliced Harmons 7 Grain Wheat
Boar's Head Black Forest Ham
Sliced cheese in your favorite flavor (I like to use Jarlsburg or Beehive Cheddar Apple)
1 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. whole grain mustard
1 Tbs. local honey butter


1. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, whole grain mustard and honey.
2. Spread the mixture onto the bread slices.
3. Place the ham and cheese on top of the spread.
4. Butter the outside of the bread and grill on medium heat to desired darkness in a frying pan or Panini press.
5. Cook until cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Buying locally and supporting local growers, farmers, and artisans has been a top priority for Harmons for 82 years. Visit any of our 16 locations for a wide selection of fresh, local cheese, produce and other amazing local products! We also have great deals for local products going on all month long. If you are looking for more culinary inspiration, check out our other Ask a Chef articles.

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