2014 Conference Sessions

    2014-Conf--Logo_Final-DisplayBelow, please find a schedule of educational sessions to be held during the 2014 ACS Conference in Sacramento, CA.

    Please note that this schedule is subject to change at any time. We have done our best to ensure that information below is accurate; however, if you identify any errors or corrections, please contact us.

     

    WEDNESDAY, JULY 30

    CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    10:00 am – 11:30 am

    FLAVOR – THE THIRD EXPERIENCE (Tasting)

    Brian Keyser, Casellula Cheese & Wine Café
    Emiliano Lee, Farmshop
    Russell Smith, Dairy Australia
    Leigh Friend, Casellula Cheese & Wine Café

    When a flavor combination is right, the result should be an experience that rises above the two individual elements – a “third experience” that is greater than the sum of its parts. In this tasting, each table will be given five cheeses of different styles and flavor profiles along with ten to twelve unique condiments. Attendees will then be encouraged to experiment with all possible pairing combinations to discover what combinations work. The panel of experts will lead a discussion on the science of taste, why certain pairings work, and how to help customers make the best pairing choices.

    Ticket required; space is limited.

    DO YOU KNOW “GMO”? (General Interest)

    Albert Straus, Straus Family Creamery

    GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. Beyond the definition, many of us are left with little more information on this complex and lightening-rod topic. Learn about GMO terminology, current research, and impacts to the dairying industry.  Gain insight into how to talk about GMOs with your customers.

    RESPONDING TO DEMAND FOR HIGHER QUALITY STANDARDS: TIME TO NAVIGATE THIRD PARTY AUDITS (Cheesemaker)

    Adeline Druart, Vermont Creamery
    Robert Frie, Emmi-Roth USA
    Stephanie Lopez, AIB International

    As our cheese industry continues to grow, so, too, do the demands of consumers, distributors, and retailers.  With an eye toward growth, many cheesemakers are exploring third party audits to determine which option is best: GFSI, BRC, SQF, ISO 22,000.  Learn from cheesemakers who have successfully navigated these sometimes tricky waters to understand the difference between all of the options, the costs associated with obtaining certification, how requirements can be implemented into existing operations, and who to contract to assist with this process.  Attendees will leave this session better equipped to prepare themselves and their operation for the continuous updates necessary to obtain and maintain their certification and answer a growing industry demand.

    FOOD SAFETY PLAN: A PRIMER (Retailer)

    Charlie Kalish, Third Wheel Cheese, LLC/TWC Consulting
    Michael Kalish, Third Wheel Cheese, LLC/TWC Consulting

    The first of a two-part series, this primer is designed to help retailers build a strong foundation for a HACCP/HARPC plan. In this session, you will learn key HACCP terminology and concepts, such as cGMPs, prerequisite programs, and SSOPs, as well as key regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the FDA Food Code (2013).  Leave this session with recommended steps to develop a robust quality assurance (QA) program. Consider this a vital primer for retailers.

    Scholar-in-Residence

    Marc Bates, Bates Consulting, Inc.

    Scholars are available to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses throughout the conference. Advance registration is required.

     

    CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    1:45 pm – 3:15 pm

    CALIFORNIA CHEESE & BEER: AGRICULTURAL ORIGINALS (Tasting)

    Nicole Erny, Cicerone
    Chris Munsey, Vermont Creamery
    Jesse Schwartzburg, Tony’s Fine Foods

    From Vella Dry Jack and Steam Beer to Teleme and Double IPA, California is home to many famous original cheeses and beer styles. Come listen to our panel of cheese and beer experts as they delve into what factors created the unique tapestry of California artisanal cheesemaking and craft brewing industries. Our experts will also guide you on sensory exploration of some of the most famous examples of California cheese and beer so you can decide for yourself which ones are world class!

    Ticket required; space is limited.

    THE SHEPHERD’S STORY: A BASQUE COUNTRY CHEESEMAKING JOURNEY (General Interest)

    Jess Perrie, Beehive Cheese Company

    Shepherd (n): To protect, guide, or carefully watch over. Join Jess Perrie, the first recipient of the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award, on a visual journey through the Basque Country of Spain with modern day shepherds of the region’s cheesemaking tradition. In her contador, or “telling room,” she explores the traditions of Basque sheepherding and cheesemaking, the primacy of Basque storytelling, and the families and communities bound together by both.

    MICROBIOLOGY OF CHEESE RINDS (Cheesemaker)

    Rachel Dutton, Ph.D., Harvard University
    Benjamin Wolfe, Ph.D., Harvard University

    We often think of cheese rind management on the macroscopic scale – pressing, bandaging, washing and more – but we should really be paying attention to what’s happening on the microscopic scale. Join acclaimed cheese microbiologists Rachel Dutton and Benjamin Wolfe for a not-to-be missed presentation on the microbiology of cheese rinds and hear how cheesemakers shape the biodiversity of their rinds (all that time you spend in a cave is really worth something!) as well as learn about a whole crew of undiscovered rind microbes. Discover how interactions between these minute life forms lead to specific types of rinds, as well as what can go wrong in the process. Take home practical knowledge about common microbes, simple steps for steering your rind in the right direction, and an increased understanding of how cheese rinds function as ecosystems.

    FOOD SAFETY PLAN: A HANDS-ON WRITING WORKSHOP (Retailer)

    Charlie Kalish, Third Wheel Cheese, LLC/TWC Consulting
    Michael Kalish, Third Wheel Cheese, LLC/TWC Consulting

    Does the thought of developing a food safety plan seem daunting?  Well, now that you’ve laid the foundation and have a solid understanding of what a food safety plan is from the primer session, we’ll work together to tackle the development of your own food safety plan.  This session will help jumpstart the process by giving you tools to accomplish your preliminary HACCP tasks, nail down a master sanitation schedule and supplier verification program, and commence your risk-based and science-based assessments of hazards. Leave this session with a game plan, a string of strategies to streamline and organize your food safety plan development, and a free toolkit of cloud-based technology to go mobile and paperless.  This two-part series is a must-attend for any retailer.

    Scholar-in-Residence

    Nana Farkye, Ph.D., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

    Scholars are available to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses throughout the conference. Advance registration is required.

    THURSDAY, JULY 31

    GENERAL SESSION (ALL ATTENDEES)
    8:30 am – 10:00 am

    FULL TRACEABILITY FROM HARVEST TO PLATE: DEVELOPING INDUSTRY STANDARDS FROM WITHIN A TRADE ORGANIZATION

    Michael Antee, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
    Maryanne Guichard, Washington State Department of Health
    Terry Sawyer, Hog Island Oysters
    Moderator: Kate Arding, Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions

    The regulatory sands are ever-shifting in many aspects of the food industry; impacted by research, changing environmental conditions, and consumer interests. In this session, you will hear from members of an industry centered around a product that is even more perishable than cheese: shellfish. Our panelists represent the critical links in the shellfish chain – grower, processor, re-seller and regulator – and they will share insights with us about how they have worked together over the past century to develop a traceability plan that supports and protects their industry.

    Scholar-in-Residence

    Marc Bates, Bates Consulting, Inc.

    Scholars are available to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses throughout the conference. Advance registration is required.

     

    CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    10:30 am – 12:00 pm

    COMB SWEET COMB: EXPLORING A “TASTE OF PLACE” IN CHEESE & HONEY (Tasting)

    Darrell Corti, Corti Brothers
    Amina Harris, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
    Marie Simmons, Author
    Moderator: Louella Hill, The San Francisco Milk Maid

    Terroir doesn’t just belong in the cheese lexicon! It also plays a vital role in determining the many varieties of honey, over 300 of which are currently produced in the U.S. Join a panel of honey experts as they guide you through some of the science beyond the comb. Learn about the species of bees that produce honey, factors that affect honey production, some botany of the most commonly pollinated plants, as well as which honeys are becoming dangerously scarce. See a demonstration of honey extraction (without having to put on a bee suit) as you taste an exceptional pairing of honeys and cheeses, proving these two foods do possess a true taste of place.

    Ticket required; space is limited.

    FSMA UPDATES (General Interest)

    Dennis D’Amico, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
    Clay Detlefsen, International Dairy Foods Association

    The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law in 2011.  Aiming to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it, the act is changing the way cheesemakers must do business.  Progress in implementing the act continues to evolve especially with the continued production of proposed rules for review and comment.  Learn what changes are taking place with the act and its implementation and what your cheese production business should be doing to comply.

    SHIP OR SINK (Cheesemaker)

    Robert Aguilar, Fromagex
    Amanda Cascadden Morra, Periship
    Jerry Van Sickle, FedEx
    Moderator: John Antonelli, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop

    For any cheesemaker shipping cheeses to market, there are important questions to be asking: Are you packaging your cheese correctly? Are your cheeses arriving in their best possible form? Could you be saving money or gaining shelf life by tinkering with something as simple as the packaging material, type of ice pack, or shape of box? Is shipping even ideal for your business model? Hear from industry experts as we tease apart the complex puzzle of successfully moving cheeses to their final destinations.

    HOT TOPIC! FOR RETAILERS & DISTRIBUTORS (Retailer/Distributor)

    Host: Dick Roe, Gourmet Foods International

    Hot Topic! sessions, unlike any other conference session, put you in charge and offer an excellent opportunity to network with and learn from your peers. Simply put, you bring the questions, experience, and passion to this session and will ultimately lead the discussions that are most important to you. It begins with the “law of two feet.” If you don’t like the discussion, you can move to another small group, or, if you have nothing more to offer, you may leave the room altogether. You take responsibility for what is discussed and what you care about. That’s the beauty of Hot Topic! It’s about what you want, when you want it. For the last two years, Hot Topic! sessions have been among the highest rated conference sessions based on attendee feedback. Don’t miss your opportunity to mix present realities, new perspectives, and past experience to work together to tackle the challenges facing you and your organization. And, don’t be surprised to find out you’re not alone!

    Scholar-in-Residence

    Nana Farkye, Ph.D., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

    Scholars are available to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses throughout the conference. Advance registration is required.

     

    CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

    CALIFORNIA WINE & CHEESE: WHAT WORKS, WHAT DOESN’T, & WHY (Tasting)

    Kirstin Jackson, Wine and Cheese Consultant, Author, and Educator
    Anita Oberholster, Ph.D., University of California, Davis  

    Cheese and wine pairing often involves picking a favorite cheese to pair with a favorite wine. Unfortunately, this method often diminishes either the components or the sum. In this session, you’ll learn about the tried and tested approaches to pairing, taste winning combinations, and learn why they work. Anita Oberholster of the renowned viticulture and enology department of UC Davis and Kirstin Jackson of “It’s Not You, It’s Brie” will team up to get to the bottom of this very tricky, but delightful business presenting you with not just tasty combinations, but the science and theory behind them.

    Ticket required; space is limited.

    THE MAKE PROCESS OF SUCCESS (General Interest)

    David Gremmels, Rogue Creamery
    John Scharffenberger, Scharffenberger Chocolate and Pacific Echo Cellars
    Moderator: Sasha Davies, Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery

    Developing a business is challenging for every entrepreneur, business owner, and manager.  As with any building, it takes a strong foundation. But, what happens within the development process that takes a simple business and transforms it into a successful brand?  Learn what it takes to cultivate a thriving brand with an eye toward bolstering your business, maintaining quality, and safeguarding your reputation. Join serial entrepreneur John Scharffenberger, founder of Scharffenberger Chocolate and Pacific Echo Cellars, and Rogue Creamery owner David Gremmels as they walk you through the “make process” of success.

    HOT TOPIC! FOR CHEESEMAKERS (Cheesemaker)

    Host: Sara Hill, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

    Hot Topic! sessions, unlike any other conference session, put you in charge and offer an excellent opportunity to network with and learn from your peers. Simply put, you bring the questions, experience, and passion to this session and will ultimately lead the discussions that are most important to you. It begins with the “law of two feet.” If you don’t like the discussion, you can move to another small group, or, if you have nothing more to offer, you may leave the room altogether. You take responsibility for what is discussed and what you care about. That’s the beauty of Hot Topic! It’s about what you want, when you want it. For the last two years, Hot Topic! sessions have been among the highest rated conference sessions based on attendee feedback. Don’t miss your opportunity to mix present realities, new perspectives, and past experience to work together to tackle the challenges facing you and your organization. And, don’t be surprised to find out you’re not alone!

    WHAT IS CLEAN? (Retailer/Distributor)

    Rick Falkenberg, Ph.D., Certified Laboratories
    Moderator: Sue Sturman, Acadamie Opus Caseus

    For every retailer, running a clean shop is paramount. Yet, for many, the difference between cleaning and sanitizing remains unclear. Understanding pathogens, their ideal conditions for growth, and how to effectively combat them is the first step in running your business with confidence. Learn from our panel of experts to gain a clear understanding of how to effectively sanitize and clean equipment, tools, surfaces, and fixtures. Leave this session equipped to confidently answer the question, “What is clean?”

    Scholar-in-Residence

    Marc Bates, Bates Consulting, Inc.

    Scholars are available to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses throughout the conference. Advance registration is required.

    FRIDAY, AUGUST 1

    CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    9:00 am – 10:30 am

    CHEESE SPIDER GRAPHS EXPLAINED (Tasting)

    Seana Doughty, Bleating Heart Cheese
    Mateo Kehler, Cellars at Jasper Hill
    Ivan Larcher, Larcher Consulting

    Whether you are developing a new cheese, want to make an existing cheese better, monitor cheese consistency, or all of the above, spider graphs are useful tools for documenting sensory attributes for flavor, aroma, and texture. This seminar will guide you through the creation of a spider graph and cover the language of sensory analysis. You will hear from East Coast and West Coast cheesemakers with different levels of experience in using spider graphs and taste the cheeses they are monitoring using this method.

    Ticket required; space is limited. 

    SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING OURSELVES (General Interest)

    Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s

    While most management courses focus on how to improve the performance of the people we manage, the real work starts with us. This interactive session will walk attendees through an overview of why effective self-management is so essential. A small investment in really studying ourselves can pay very large dividends. The better we manage ourselves, the better everything will be – our businesses, our work, our relationships, and our lives overall. The quality of our products, and certainly our customer service, can improve from even a modest increase in self-awareness and better self-management. Guaranteed to help you make a positive difference in the way you live every day!

    SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A CHEESE CAVE? (Cheesemaker)

    David Mathieu, Clauger North America
    Thomas Milhoua, Air Quality Process
    Moderator: Michael Kalish, Third Wheel Cheese, LLC/TWC Consulting

    What does it take to create a cheese aging facility that does everything right? Understand the variables in building a cheese aging facility, whether it be an introductory low-tech option or high-tech facility. Learn where problems might develop with sanitation, drying, and shrinkage. This session will focus on sanitation and air handling. Learn the options and limitations of controlling air pressure and flow, filtration, design, placement and cost, no matter the technological level of your cheese aging facility.

    A CHEDDAR & A TRIPLE CREME WALK INTO A BAR (Retailer/Distributor)

    Sarah Dvorak, Mission Cheese
    Sean Heather, Salt Tasting Room
    Steve Jones, Cheese Bar
    Brian Keyser, Casellula Cheese & Wine Café

    Where is retail going? It may be headed to the bar! Cheese bars (i.e. cheese and wine bars, cheese and beer bars, and cheese focused restaurants) are popping up across the country. Some of these are from experienced retailers, others are by folks new to the industry. So what’s driving this trend? In this session, attendees will learn the ins and outs of opening and running a cheese bar and the pros and cons as compared with traditional retail from the folks leading the pack.

    Scholar-in-Residence

    Nana Farkye, Ph.D., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

    Scholars are available to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses throughout the conference. Advance registration is required.

     

    CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    12:15 pm – 1:45 pm

    CHEESE, SALAME, AND MICROBES – PARALLELS & DISCOVERIES (Tasting)

    Paul Bertolli, Fra’ Mani
    Benjamin Wolfe, Ph.D., Harvard University
    Mateo Kehler, Jasper Hill Farm

    As distinct classes of food, naturally aged cheese and fermented sausages share remarkable parallels in the processes by which their raw materials are transformed. To say that salame is made from meat and cheese from milk is to tell only part of a very rich story. Microbes that colonize cheese and meat play as much of a role as their prime ingredients. These invisible communities influence the flavor, aroma, texture, and appearance of cheese and salame, and are responsible for their unique and defining attributes. Join microbiologist Ben Wolfe, Paul Bertolli, founder and Curemaster of Fra’ Mani and Mateo Kehler, cheesemaker at Jasper Hill Farm, for an in-depth discussion of this rich subject and a tasting to illustrate.

    Ticket required; space is limited.

    CHEESEMAKING SYMBIOSIS: FROM MICROBIAL TO LOCAL ECONOMY (General Interest)

    Alexandre Pellicier, Alexandre Pellicier Cheesemaking Consulting
    Jeremy Stephenson, Farms for City Kids Foundation, Spring Brook Farm

    Cheesemaking has evolved over centuries in the Savoie region of the French Alps. The production methods and farming practices developed in this beautiful, yet harsh landscape have lessons which can be applied to the production of high quality cheese, as well as the economic viability of small farms. You’ll hear about how traditional cheese production methods were adapted for a farm in Vermont, and learn about the principles, techniques and lessons that could benefit your farm community.

    DEMYSTIFYING ADJUNCT CHEESE CULTURES (Cheesemaker)

    Trish Dawson, Chris Hansen

    The business of cultures is ever-increasing, especially with the growing popularity of artisan and specialty cheeses. As cheesemakers work to create new tastes, textures, and appearances, they turn to adjunct cultures to help in the development. There are many new cultures available on the market and many ways to utilize them to achieve the desired results. Join Trish Dawson as she highlights the purpose, function, and differentiating qualities of some of the newest cultures available today.

    EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION, HANDLING, & TRACEABILITY FOR RETAILERS (Retailer/Distributor)

    Saxon Brown, ACS CCP, Terroir Travel

    It’s all about the cheese!  From the cheesemaker to the distributor to the retailer, and ultimately, to the customer, every step in the cheese chain plays an integral part in the movement of cheese. So, how can retailers of all sizes provide constructive feedback to cheesemakers and distributors to ensure customers are receiving the best cheese possible? Learn how to properly check in cheeses and keep receiving logs to create an effective traceability plan. Leave this session with a greater understanding of how all this works together allowing those in the cheese industry to get top quality product into the mouths of the consumer.

    Scholar-in-Residence

    Marc Bates, Bates Consulting, Inc.

    Scholars are available to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses throughout the conference. Advance registration is required.

     

    DEEP DIVE SESSION
    12:15 pm – 4:45 pm

    CHEESE PHOTOGRAPHY & FOOD STYLING 101 (Deep Dive – Additional Fee Applies)

    Sharon Bice, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery
    Christine Hyatt, Cheese Chick Productions

    Part lecture, part demonstration, and part hands-on, creative immersion. This session will “Celebrate the American Cheese Plate” as participants get more confident behind the lens with top tips, tools, and techniques to capture mouthwatering images. The workshop explores a cheese-focused photo shoot from creative concept to styling, shooting, and editing. The lecture portion covers composition, camera basics, the natural light photography shoot flow, food styling, and propping. Next, participants put their new skills to use, shooting several prepared cheese displays. Bring your camera to class! The session concludes with a brief overview of image editing and export to various print and social media platforms.

    Advance registration is required.

     

    CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    2:15 pm – 3:45 pm

    CHEESE & OLIVE OIL (Tasting)

    Sue Langstaff, University of California, Davis, and California Olive Oil Council Taste Panels
    Sandy Sonnenfelt, The Pasta Shop
    Moderator: Lassa Skinner, culture Magazine

    Olive oil can be luscious and buttery or big and robust – just like cheese! Join the experts, who will guide you through a sensory evaluation of California extra virgin olive oils, identifying different varietals and highlighting characteristics of both the olive and its oil. Learn about the history, context, and production methods of California olive oil, then participate in a side-by-side pairing of olive oils and the cheeses that love them.

    Ticket required; space is limited.

    BEYOND THE CHEESE PLATE: CHEESE AS AN INGREDIENT (General Interest)

    Andrew Hillman, Chef, The Cultured & The Cured
    Michael Touhy, Chef, LowBrau and Block Butcher Bar
    Gregg Wangard, Chef, Marisol at the Cliffs Resort
    Moderator: Jacquelyn Buchanan, Laura Chenel’s Chevre, Inc. & Marin French Cheese Company

    Chefs are renowned for their creativity and passion for food. They originate trends and create demand for new cheese experiences. So how do chefs decide to use cheese as an ingredient in their master creations? What are their favorite styles, and how do they decide which cheese to use? What creates buzz on the menu? Understand how chefs look at American artisan cheese as an ingredient, why they use it, and how they source it. Join this panel of three distinguished California chefs and get a firsthand look at the factors that influence their decisions to move cheese beyond the cheese plate.

    CREATING AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL OR STICKING WITH TRADITION (Cheesemaker)

    John Antonelli, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
    Rachel Cohen, ACS CCP, Good Eggs
    Andy Hatch, Uplands Cheese
    Moderator: Max McCalman, Author

    To be original, or not to be original? For any cheesemaker considering making a new cheese, the decision is not always easy. There are many questions including what type of cheese to make and whether or not it should mimic a known and classic style or branch out on its own. Do you really want to explain to every last customer why your “Gruyere” doesn’t taste quite like “Gruyere”? Should you simply acknowledge your cheese is its own thing and give it a name as unique as it is? What if you make a new cheddar? Would anyone buy it or is the market already saturated? This panel will give you a cross-industry perspective to help you find the best answer for you and your cheese business by providing insights on new niches, strategies for pricing, advice on naming, and other regional considerations.

    CHEESE FACTS, CHEESE FEELINGS (Retailer/Distributor)

    Kate Arding, Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions
    Jeanne Carpenter, Metcalfe’s Market
    Moderator: Gordon Edgar, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative

    As the last people in line before it reaches the customers, retailers have the power to help foster or hamper the growth of American-made cheese. Do their value judgments get in the way? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? The moderator and panelists of this session will look at a number of controversial or misunderstood cheese practices and discuss whether those concepts should be used to sell a cheese, shelve a cheese, or simply be better explained. “Terroir,” frozen curd, “local,” wheel size, raw vs. pasteurized milk, certifications, “cave”-aged,” how big is BIG, and whether artisanal is a dirty word are some of the buzz words and practices that will be interrogated in this lively discussion.

    Scholar-in-Residence

    Nana Farkye, Ph.D., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

    Scholars are available to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses throughout the conference. Advance registration is required.

    SATURDAY, AUGUST 2

    ANNUAL CHEESE SALE
    11:00 am – 2:00 pm

    Support the American Cheese Education Foundation’s Cheesemaker Scholarship Fund!

    Love what you tasted at the Festival of Cheese? Don’t miss the annual Cheese Sale for your chance to score a bargain on cheeses that scored big in our 2014 Judging & Competition. Open to both attendees and the local public, this is your opportunity to buy the best cheeses made in North America at a great price. Proceeds from the Cheese Sale benefit the American Cheese Education Foundation. Cash is preferred, but credit cards are accepted.