Each year, the ACS Annual Conference relies on the hard work and dedication of countless volunteers. Among these key volunteers are the Official Conference Cheesemongers (OCCs), the individuals who oversee and manage the preparation and presentation of thousands of cheeses and other donated products that play a starring role in ACS Conference events.
3 individuals are selected annually to be part of this key Conference team.
The ACS Official Conference Cheesemongers are the lead volunteers in charge of Conference cheeses and other specialty foods for meals, educational sessions, and special events. The team of OCCs works to:
- Create displays of cheese and accompaniments for meals, sessions, and events (ranging from a 200-person educational session to a meal for 1,000+ people requiring 90+ family-style platters)
- Work with the Festival of Cheese Team to execute the Brunch of Champions
- Assist sponsors with preparing and displaying their products for sponsored events
- Practice safe handling, storage and transport of all food
- Oversee a team of volunteers
Eligibility and Selection Criteria
The Official Conference Cheesemongers must possess:
- Strong ability to organize, arrange, and schedule the tempering and delivery of multiple products (including cheese, fluid milk, crackers, charcuterie, chocolate, beverages, etc.) for multiple events throughout the Conference
- Catering experience
- Experience managing staff or volunteers
- Ability to be team players
- Strong collaborative skills
- Project management skills
March to July (before the Conference): 4-6 hours per month
The pre-Conference work will include but is not limited to:
- Attending conference calls with ACS staff and the Conference planning team
- Reviewing and updating volunteer schedules
- Coordinating with tasting session presenters and Conference sponsors
The Official ACS Conference Cheesemongers commit to spending approximately 7 days behind the scenes at the ACS Conference. This team works closely with ACS staff and key volunteers on-site, including the Receiving Manager. OCCs should anticipate working extended hours. Typical schedules average 12 hours per day.
- Travel to/from Host City
- Lodging for the duration of the Conference
- Complimentary ACS Conference registration to attend in the following year (the OCC team will be too busy to attend sessions or events in the year they are serving in this role)
- Personalized embroidered ACS chef coats
The Application period for the Official Conference Cheesemonger Team is open from October 15 through January 31st each year.
“Being an Official Conference Cheesemonger was amazing and will be one of the most memorable events of my career. I gained lasting experience, knowledge, and friendship. It helped me realize my existing skillset and expand upon others. I enjoyed unparalleled leadership, communication, and teamwork thanks to my co-OCCs. I will always be thankful for the confidence in myself and my trade that I acquired during the conference. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is detail driven, enjoys working with others, and is passionate about the best food ever…cheese!” -Arielle Neher, Official Conference Cheesemonger, 2016
“How do you become part of an indestructible team who can do anything? Become an OCC. Want to make lifelong friendships with amazing people? Become an OCC. How can you give back to your industry by supporting ACS? Become an OCC. Can you work hard and be both effective and efficient? Become an OCC. Want to meet your cheese heroes? Become an OCC. Can you make a positive impact and lead others? Become an OCC. Want to carry that feeling of a job well done for the rest of your life? Become an OCC.” -Meredith Fitzgerald, Official Conference Cheesemonger, 2016