Anthony Femia

Anthony Femia has a passion for cheese on every level – from the history of the beloved dairy product, to the science behind cheesemaking and of course, a fascination with its various textures and flavours. This driving force has guided him in his career as a cheesemonger so far, as he aims to educate his local community on all facets of cheesemaking, beyond its sensory delights. 'It's what gets me excited each and every day I don my apron at Maker & Monger,' he says.

The South Yarra cheese shop specialises in local and international cheese varieties, seasonal dishes and delicious cheesy toasties. The latter are often a collaboration, joining forces with neighbouring produce stalls in the Harvest Hall at Prahran Market.

Anthony cites Melbourne's incredible culinary scene as an ongoing source of inspiration for him and his business. Here are some of his favourite foodie spots in South Yarra, Ripponlea and North Caulfield.

1. Attica

One of the country's premier dining destinations, this award-wining Ripponlea restaurant has attracted worldwide acclaim. Anthony says there is no superlative to describe what Ben Shewry and his team have created. 'The way they champion and educate us on Indigenous ingredients and culture, and the way he encourages the talents and aspirations of his staff is incredibly inspiring,' he says.

2. The Staple Store

As the name suggests, this Ripponlea store is all about bringing things back to the basics, servicing the local community with wholefoods and conscientiously made products. Anthony describes the store as 'an oasis for positivity and inspiration'.

3. Tuck Shop Take Away

Anthony reckons this cafe in North Caulfield serves up the best burgers and hand cut chips in Melbourne. For him, it's the attention to detail that makes this venture worthy of its crown - from its homey, old school canteen vibe, to the milk bar-inspired menu. All dishes are created onsite, using local ingredients. 'The beef patties are always cooked to medium-rare perfection and the sauces, chips, drink syrups and ice creams are all made in house, with love,' he says.

4. Gary's Meats

This family-owned and operated butchery is a neighbourhood favourite. You'll find it a stone's throw from Maker & Monger within Prahran market. Alongside beef, pork and lamb, the butcher specialises in wagyu, and Anthony reckons theirs is the best available available in Melbourne. Gary's Robbin Island wagyu and brisket pastrami are key ingredients in Maker & Monger's 'Flaming Reuben' toastie.

5. The Mushroom Man

Another familiar face at Prahran market, the 'Mushroom Man' Damian Pike's passion lies in mushrooms, truffles, gourmet produce and edible flowers. Anthony recommends sampling some of his seasonal delights on any visit to the market, particularly his white strawberries, truffles and morels. Damian is more than happy to offer advice on how to best enjoy his unusual produce to the curious foodies who stop by his stall.

"The passion and pride a lot of our chefs take in sourcing and championing seasonal regional produce and their makers is what inspires me to continue being the benchmark cheese shop in Australia."

— Anthony Femia, Maker & Monger

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