Steve Jenkins grew up in Columbia, Missouri. Upon graduation from high school he moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. That was in 1973. While waiting for his big break into show-biz, he took a job in a cheese store. After a year he became manager, but he found retail rote; two years and a couple of minor soap opera roles later, he was fired for telling the owner he was in the store when he was actually in his apartment. Jenkins then met Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca, and became their first employee. He created a new sensory experience by liberating cheese from the confines of a refrigerator case at the now legendary Dean & DeLuca specialty food shop. He built pyramids of cheese atop the counter using hundreds of pounds of orange, rock-hard, aged Goudas. He used slabs of Carrara marble and wooden cutting boards to display Bries and heaped Pillivuyt porcelain souffle dishes with fresh goat cheese sprinkled with herbs and drizzled with olive oil. The more Steven learned about cheese, the more he realized that this country was sorely lacking in its selection of truly great cheeses. So he went to France in search of "real" cheese. On his return, his shipments from Rungis began to arrive--cheese the likes of which had never been tasted before in New York. Real Brie from Brie, and real Camembert from Normandy. The next six years he traveled frequently throughout the cheese-producing regions of France, Switzerland and Italy. Jenkins has created and/or revamped the cheese counters at Dean & DeLuca, the Fairway Market, Balducci's, and other celebrated fine food shops in New York and across the country. He has rejoined the Fairway Market. Jenkins was the first American to be awarded France's prestigious Chevalier du Taste Fromage and is frequent contibutor to Food Arts, Food & Wine, and the Gourmet Retailer. Since the publication of Cheese Primer in November 1996, Steve Jenkins has become a regular commentator on the National Public Radio Program The Splendid Table, and he was the recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award in the reference category for this book.