Paul Lambert is a connoisseur of cheese, an avid world traveler, and a woman who changed the food business scene in Dallas, Texas by following her heart.
When Paula Lambert created Mozzarella Company in 1982, she was revolutionizing the foodie scene. Paula decided she wanted to make cheese the way she tasted it in Italy — by hand and with the finest ingredients. At the time, this was a shocking concept to fellow food professionals in Dallas.
“Remember, this was 38 years ago,” Paula said. “You definitely could not get fresh mozzarella in Texas. You could barely get it in New York!”
The desire to make fresh mozzarella available to people in her home state has led Paula and her company to immense success, including the highest awards and changing the way people in Texas understand fine dining. Mozzarella Company is now a highly regarded company that produces hundreds of homemade cheeses and creates new innovative cheese recipes.
All of this success begins in Perugia, Italy when Paula was 25 years old.
Discovering Her Passion
When Paula was a young school teacher in The States, she wanted to live in Italy for an entire summer, rather than the short trips she had experienced before. She signed up for school in Perugia, studying Italian and art history and working odd jobs. The intended summer turned into 5 years.
“I had a wonderful time,” Paula says. “I learned to speak Italian, I met people from all different countries, and I fell in love with Italian food and cooking.”
After 5 years, a friend of Paula’s came to visit her, they fell in love, and Paula decided to move back to the United States.
Creating the Beginnings of a Company
“So then I was married and living in the U.S. Nine years after that, I decided I wanted to have a business that involved food in Italy.” She tells me.
It seemed obvious to Paula: she loved food and she loved Italy, so it follows that she would make cheese — mozzarella specifically. But she was committed to making quality mozzarella that tasted the way it did in Italy, and that meant handmade.
So she did her research. Paula went back to a little mozzarella factory in Italy near Perugia. She asked a million questions and discovered a professional cheese school in the North of Italy. Paula headed up to meet the head of the school to discuss education options.
She tells me laughing, “You know, he had huge visions of coming and consulting at a big industry, and we were a tiny little cubbyhole at the time…So he sent a cheese professor.”
To the astonishment of all of her friends, this professor lived at Paula’s home in Dallas for a while and taught them how to make cheese the Italian way. “It was so much fun”.
Finding Success and Winning Awards
From there, the Mozzarella Company simply took off. In 1985, a mere three years after the company’s genesis, they won their first award from the American Cheese Society. By Paula’s account, it’s still the most thrilling award they’ve received.
“We were this nothing company, and we won this award for the best cheese in the country…and this was even before the artisanal cheese movement started!” She says.
The awards haven’t stopped and neither has Paula Lambert. Nearly every year since the company began, they have received numerous awards for the quality of their cheese. This year alone, they won four awards in Italy at the World Cheese Awards.
As they won awards, Paula continued the research with a nonstop thirst, going back to traditional cheesemakers to learn about cheesemaking and returning to Dallas with innovative processes and new information.
Once Mozzarella Company had tackled most traditional cheeses, Paula begun creating new recipes using her travel as source inspiration.
“One example is I’ve taken this French goat cheese — it comes in little rounds — and wrapped it in an unusual leaf called hoja santa that comes from Mexico. It permeates the goat cheese and the flavor comes out so captivating.” Paula says.
“Ultimately, you’ve got your experiences, and you just combine all those things to create newness.”Paula Lambert
As I spoke to Paula, she was traveling, leading a group around New Zealand and to Australia to discover the best food and wine. In fact, she attributes much of her success to the fact that she’s made her passion her work: traveling, food, and Italy.
At the end of the day, she tells me, “I wanted to have good cheese, I wanted to sell it to the good restaurants, and I wanted to travel. If you concentrate on your goal and go toward it, you’ll get there.”
Caprese Garden launch celebration with Paula Lambert.
“We are beyond thrilled to be launching our new Caprese Garden with Paula Lambert. I have personally been a fan of Paula’s for years as a business leader, entrepreneur, woman of style. I stand in awe with the perfection of her cheese collection.
It’s an honor to share the celebration of our new garden with the extraordinary Paula Lambert.” Donna Letier, Co-Founder Gardenuity.
The event is Thursday, March 12 at the Gardenuity studio. Each guest will enjoy cocktails, appetizers, a cheese tasting lead by Paula and leave with a fully planted Caprese Garden. For ticket information- Caprese Garden Gathering with Paula Lambert
Oh well, anything Italian. But I love chicken, I love fish, I love cheese. And I love love to have dinner parties.
So I have lots of parties, and I cook everything myself. I don’t have only one kind of cooking…I love everybody in the kitchen helping and creating a big happy family.
Well, one of the things that keeps me going every day is that I go to exercise every day. I go to the gym with a trainer 3 days a week, and I go to pilates 2 days a week. I start out the day doing those things, and I love it.
And I have a lot of energy — tons of it.
Oh, I think you just take a deep breath!
The most important to me was to be named to the Who’s Who of Food and Wine by the James Beard Association. That is just a very big deal.
You have to be prepared for how much work it is and how much more work it will be than you ever dreamed it would be. Make sure that you choose to do what you love. Because if you love it, it will never feel like work.
“I’m just going to tell you one other thing,” Paula says as we end our conversation. “I think Gardenuity’s idea is fantastic. I love herbs, I loved meeting Donna and Julie, and I think their idea is so creative. I’m just thrilled to be doing something with them.”
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, join us for an evening with Paula Lambert to celebrate the launch of our Caprese Salad Garden Kit. We’ll hear her story, eat delicious cheese (courtesy of The Mozzarella Company), and assemble our Caprese Salad Garden Kits to take home and grow.