One might call cheesemonger Sully McGinnis a cheese prodigy. He's been fascinated with cheese since he was 4, when he discovered a book about a French mouse that is a cheese connoisseur. He estimates he read the book more than a hundred times. Specialized fascinations like his are characteristic of people with autism. "The cool thing about autism is, my mind is like a filing system," Sully explained. "Someone says washed-rind cheese, and I think of a hundred washed-rind cheeses."

Sully told me about mimolette, a cheese Napoleon loved so much, he forbade his cheesemaker to sell it to anyone else. When the cheesemaker smuggled it to other customers inside cannonball cases, it became infested with cheese mites, which to everyone's surprise made it extra delicious.

For Sully, that mimolette is key to understanding a historical moment. The mission of Sully's new Kitchen Sink Project (, in addition to wholesaling tasty, exotic cheeses to restaurants and wineries, is to create educational food events that help people see food as he does—every meal a convergence of many complex systems. At Poco Wine + Spirits, where Sully currently mongers, we ate pale slivers of an experimental Alpine-style raw-milk cheese, which tasted like very sharp Swiss. When he told me it was "yet unnamed," I felt I'd never truly known the thrill of cheese until that moment. recommended