Leah was born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up watching Julia Child, How to Boil Water and Yan Can Cook. She has worked in many aspects of the food industry since her first job scooping ice cream at the age of 15.
Leah attended the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 1999, while simultaneously working in garde manger/pastry at Jeramiah Tower’s acclaimed restaurant, Stars Bar and Dining. She completed her pastry internship at Caneel Bay Resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands and upon her return to California, landed a job as part of the opening team in the pastry department of the new Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. There, she worked extremely hard in all aspects of the pastry department and became a Department Trainer. Leah later transferred to open The Ritz Carlton Boston and was the pastry lead of the fine dining room called “The Dining Room”. Thereafter, she worked in Beverly Hills at The L’ermitage Hotel where she also became Employee of the Quarter for the culinary department.
Leah was recruited to be the Assistant Pastry Chef/Acting Pastry Chef of the Regent Beverly Wilshire. During that time she was sent to open yet another hotel, The Four Seasons Palo Alto. After this satisfying career, Leah left her last pastry job to backpack solo around the globe for a year, sampling each country’s culinary differences and gaining innumerable life experiences.
Upon return from her travels, Leah yearned to find an independent shop similar to that she had experienced in so many places around the world. She found The Cheese Store of Silverlake, where she cheesemongered and managed for 6 years. During this time, she worked under Chris Pollan (previously of The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills), attended the American Cheese Society Convention, and worked with fellow Cheesemongers and Artisan producers to learn the trade to the best of her ability.
Milkfarm is a collaboration of Leah’s heart, soul, work and life experiences. This is her first business and she can’t wait to share her love for cheese and artisan food with the local community. Leah is especially grateful to be in such a diverse and family-friendly neighborhood of Eagle Rock, where she also resides with her husband and 17 year old beagle. She is happy to say that she has achieved her dream job of being a business owner in the culinary field.
Leah knew she wanted to be in the food business at a very early age, as her favorite toys as a child were a cash register, fake food and mini kitchenette. Her and her childhood friend “opened” a restaurant called Jose and Leah’s Famouse Foods (yes, spelled incorrectly), where they forced terrible concoctions onto their parents. “My mom thought it was weird that her (Asian) kid could love cheese so much. She used to say, ‘You know you’d be 10 pounds lighter if you didn’t eat so much cheese!’ I guess those early years of sticking a Kraft Single in the rice cooker has finally paid off…my own cheese store!”
After having a little too much fun at art school, Devra thought that she might have taken a wrong turn through the Richard Serra sculpture and accidentally walked away with a degree in bologna. Never one to miss an opportunity, she naturally turned her skills toward the food industry. Balancing her time over the last couple years working as a vegan baker and bacon-wrapped donut maker (not usually at the same time), she has officially made room for a pastry brush next to her brights and filberts.
Early in the summer of 2014, her wandering feet took up their old habits and she found herself upon the doorstep of Milkfarm. The delectable treats and warm community lured her inside. Once again at the beginnings of a new frontier, Devra is excited to immerse herself in the world of cheese and learn the fine art of cheesemongering.
Melody Dahlgren – Cheesemonger
Melody was born with an insatiable love of cheese. She grew up in Santa Cruz, California and moved to L.A. to attend Occidental College. She graduated in 2016 with a major in Politics and a minor in Art History.
She enjoys traveling, dancing, re-creating famous works of Renaissance Art, and of course…EATING (a lot)! Melody plans to travel in the future and to help create positive change in the world, but for now she’s peddling the finest cheese in town!
Arisbe (Liz) Reyes – Cheesemonger + Cook
Arisbe was born and raised in Los Angeles, but spent most of her summer and winter vacations in Mexico where she watched her mother and grandmother cooking in traditional rustic styles over open flames on the family’s peach orchard. She was inspired to continue with the family’s love for cooking and attended The Art Institute where she graduated with a Culinary Degree in 2012.
Since graduating with her degree, she has worked in several aspects of the culinary field including catering, distribution, pastry, and even a local Eagle Rock grocer. Her fondest memories are cooking at the Emmy’s, galas, private events, and spectacular weddings. Arisbe does all of the cooking at Milkfarm and is thrilled to be with us, further expanding her culinary encyclopedia. She can be found with a smile on her face behind the cheese counter.
Alyssa Trulson – Cheesemonger
Alyssa was born in Massachusetts, into a family of chefs and educators and all-around lovers of fine food. She looked forward to every big family holiday, mostly to get to sample the impressive cheese boards that were always on the table. This intense love of cheese followed her to California ten years ago & helped to land her first job behind the cheese counter at Whole Foods Market. She quickly worked herself up into becoming the store’s Cheese Buyer, and then the store’s Beer Buyer, as well.
After 5 years with the company, Alyssa was ready to take a step outside of her comfort zone & accepted a job as a sales rep for a San Diego brewery. She jumped into the role head-first but found herself missing the cheese world, which led her straight into Milkfarm. A fan of all things fermented (cheese, beer, wine, etc), Alyssa is thrilled to be in a local shop that celebrates them all (with cheese being the superstar, obviously).