Why he's interesting ... As the general manager at Zack Bruell's University Circle restaurant, Chrostowski is also the expert palate behind its signature cheese board, a constantly rotating selection of some of the world's best cheeses. He estimates his is one of the top five cheese programs in the nation. "And I only say that because I've worked for the top two."
You cut cheese for a living? ... It's the most popular reaction he gets about his job. "Fromagers are dinosaurs. Sommelier is a growing breed. It's hot. It's sexy. But to me it can't just be the one. You've got to have the other."
A sucker for a pretty face ... "That's what brought me here," he says of following a girl to Cleveland. "How I ended up in these roles is fate." He met Bruell, who asked if he had interest in doing a cheese board. Chrostowski has previously worked under Charlie Trotter in Chicago, at a Michelin three-star restaurant in France and at several well-known New York City spots.
New York diners vs. Cleveland ... "There's an energy about people here. They are very open and willing to be whisked away. That's the difference I see with diners in Cleveland."
His favorite cheese ... "It's like choosing between my children." But if he had to, the hearty French comté cheese L'Fort is "just dynamite."
On why he picked wine and cheese ... "So many qualities about those two products are human. They are like life. They are made by human hands."
Food fate ... Chrostowski wants to give diners an experience, not just fill their bellies. "At one point in your life, you're going to have a perfect moment where everything is aligned. Food has that same moment in its life. You just have to capture it."
Outside interests ... He doesn't miss an issue of The New Yorker, and he boxes on the side. "Every now and then I won't look as pretty as I did the day before."