Our Story
Our Story

The Art of Cheese

Cheesemaking is rooted in centuries of experimentation, innovation, tasting, and refinement. Cultures and fermentation have endured for hundreds of years as crucial techniques to mastering the mouth-watering cheeses we enjoy today.

Our Story
Our Story
Our Story

Vertage cheeses are made in the blueprint of age-old cheesemaking, but with a fresh new twist: the embrace of emerging fermentation & bio design technologies that have the potential to positively impact how we produce food.

Vertage cheeses are made without animals™

Our Story
Our Story

A collection of cheeses with aromas that delight, tastes you crave, and distinctly cheesy textures that would impress even the staunchest cheese traditionalists.

Vertage cheeses rival animal-based cheeses in taste and outshine them with superior nutrition, value, and sustainability provided by plant-based ingredients.

Our founder, Chef Margaux Riccio, developed a dangerous dairy allergy early on in her career.
Our Story
Rather than stepping off the line as a chef, Margaux created her own restaurant where she served an entirely plant-based menu.
Our Story
Our Story

The popularity of her restaurant blossomed into multiple restaurants in the DC area catching the eyes of a community of chefs who helped foster the development of these cheeses, featuring them on their own sought-after menus. Also taking notes were former executives in fast food (Chipotle), fine dining (Eleven Madison Park), and food tech (JUST) who together nurtured Vertage to bloom.

These world-class food industry veterans joined forces in the name of Vertage (and for the love of cheese).

Tim Wildin
Chief Executive Officer, Product Development & Brand Marketing Expert

As a skilled culinary, product development, and brand marketing leader, Tim expertly guides Vertage in pursuit of deliciousness. He previously oversaw culinary development, menu innovation, and concept development at Chipotle and has years of experience spanning chef-driven fine dining, hotel, CPG, and fast-casual. He’s a fast thinker. 

Margaux Riccio
Founder, Chef & Restaurateur

A nationally-recognized plant-based chef and restaurateur, Chef Margaux serves as Vertage cheesemaker-in-chief. In 2005, she acquired a severe dairy allergy which led her to develop plant-based foods she could enjoy. She heads DC-area restaurants Bubbie’s Plant Burgers and Fizz, Plant Food Lab, and Pow Pow and is also a recipient of PETA’s Compassionate Business Award. Can we get a oui, chef?

Mark Crumpacker
Investor & Chairman, Founder of Cultivas, Senior Advisor to Impossible Foods & MasterClass

A true food industry veteran, Mark brings an unparalleled level of knowledge and experience to Vertage. Formerly the Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Chipotle, he is now the Founder of Cultivas, a PE-backed infrastructure platform for sustainable foods. He serves as a senior advisor to Impossible Foods and MasterClass. For good measure, he is a board member at GridPoint and board chair at Creator.

Eric Chappell
Finance Advisor, Alternative Protein & Sustainable Food Entrepreneur

A senior finance leader with deep experience in fundraising efforts (more than $400M raised), Eric oversees the green at Vertage. He developed the business case for Just Foods’ launch of their Just Egg product and has extensive industry experience with alternative protein and sustainable food companies. That’s green times two. 

Our Cheese Board

A powerhouse team of iconic chefs and culinary experts shaping the conversation in food make up our Cheese Board.The Vertage Cheese Board plays a crucial role in making Vertage what it is today. The ultimate melting pot of creativity and culinary talent.

Nate Appleman
Chef & Restaurateur

A James Beard Award-winning chef and Julia Child Award-winning cookbook author, Chef Nate is a pizza icon – one of the few American pizzaiolos certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association. He is a Food Network regular and prolific restaurateur whose soulful cooking has garnered him national praise.

JJ Johnson
Chef, Restaurateur, TV Host

A man of many talents, JJ is a James Beard Award-winning chef, TV personality and author best known for his barrier-breaking cuisine informed by the Caribbean flavors of his upbringing. Chef JJ recently founded FIELDTRIP which utilizes sustainable ingredients and ethically sourced vegetables and proteins, creating a flavorful and diverse dining experience. The brand’s motto, “Rice is Culture,” was born out of Chef JJ’s belief that rice is the universal ingredient that connects us all and can be found at the center of the table in almost every community. FIELDTRIP was the only fast casual restaurant on Esquire’s “America’s Best New Restaurants” list in 2020.

Nilou Motamed

Nilou has been shaping the conversation around food for more than 20 years and was named one of AdWeek’s 30 Most Influential People in Food. She is an Emmy-nominated TV personality appearing on preeminent food TV franchises including Bravo’s Top Chef and Food Network’s Chopped. Nilou has served as Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine and as Editor-in-Chief of Epicurious.com, and is the co-founder of Story Collective, a brand and storytelling consultancy.

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