Great American Cheese Collection

Great American Cheese Collection

A Short Biography of Giles Schnierle

Former chef and long-time consultant to the food industry, Giles Schnierle now specializes in introducing and promoting specialty and artisan cheeses.

Giles Schnierle

After creating Giles Catering in 1978, he immediately established himself with the Lake Shore Drive and North Shore clientele, and succeeded in becoming one of the top 10 social caterers in Chicago. In 1986, he sold Giles Catering to specialize in gourmet food distribution, creating a new breed of distributorship. Giles sought small specialty food producers who could not reach the upper echelon markets, and became their all-in-one broker, distributor, sales rep, and public relations agent. These small independent producers experienced a newfound success through Giles' innovative concept to sales and promotion. In his search for rare and fine quality products, he discovered another area of small producers who had been left out of the restaurant and retail food market — artisan cheeses. Giles saw the need to bring these sumptuous and delectable cheeses to the public's attention, and added to his collection future award-winning cheesemakers who started by making only a few cheeses on their small farms, sometimes in a spare room of their house. Giles' knowledge and experienced palette allowed him to recognize unique and outstanding cheeses, developing the largest and most successful artisan cheese collections in the nation. His Great American Cheese Collection is made up of specialty and artisan cheeses from across North America.

Made up of 67 (and always growing) premier cheesemakers from California to Louisiana to Vermont to Quebec, representing more than 300 cheeses, Giles introduced The Great American Cheese Collection to chefs and retail consumers across the country. As a guide to cheesemaking, cheese pairing and cooking with cheese, he continually introduces and promotes these innovations to new markets.

In addition to promoting top cheesemakers, Giles has proven to be a creative force in the culinary field. He shares his knowledge of specialty and artisan cheeses with culinary students from all of the Chicagoland culinary schools. His innovative thinking further led him to pairing artisan cheeses with wine, beer and spirits, introducing and teaching these pairings to chefs at the top, trendsetting restaurants. In his spare(!) time, he formed the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC) Farmers' Market in 2002, which was voted by USA TODAY (Sept. 2003) to be among the top 10 markets in the country.

Giles' ability to recognize future trends helps all interested parties succeed in the food industry. His knowledge, creativity, and energy will continue to blossom as he forges ahead with wine, beer, spirits and cheese pairings in his soon-to-be published book on The Great American Cheese Collection.

If you are interested in hosting a cheesemaker dinner at your restaurant, call Giles Schnierle at 773-779-5055 or email him at