ACS Speaker Bios

The Education Committee is hard at work planning the 2019 ACS Conference.

Thank you to our 2018 Presenters!

Waldemar Albrecht
Waldemar Albrecht started his career in cheese at The Pasta Shop in Oakland, CA in 2000 as a cheese buyer. Under the tutelage of Daphne Zepos and Max McCalman he moved to New York City to work as the in-house fromager at Artisanal Fromagerie and Bistro in the Spring of 2003, eventually becoming the Director of Business Development, Events, and Education at Artisanal Cheese Center, a position he held until 2012. Waldemar returned to California in 2013, where he has worked for Oliver’s Market and Cheese Plus. He has served as Board member for the California Cheese Guild for 3 years. He currently lives with his partner, Peter and dog, Luke, in San Francisco, CA.

Ryan Andrus
Ryan Andrus is a commercial goat dairy farmer working for Cypress Grove in Northern California. Ryan has over a decade of experience managing goat dairies and raising replacements in a commercial setting.

In 2011, Ryan teamed up with Cypress Grove with the goal to improve the standards of commercial goat farming in the western US, leading by example through the construction and management of a state-of-the-art model goat dairy. Together they designed a replicable model dairy that can be scaled up or down. Their aim was to combine the best elements from the proven Dutch goat dairy system with those of California’s successful cow dairy industry.

Seven years after their start, their American Humane Certified goat dairy has a herd size of 1300 goats. The dairy is set up with the most modern technology currently available including an RFID system with milk meters, daily milk weights on each goat, and a herd management software system equipped with a complete health and genetic history of each animal. The production metrics are 40% higher than the California average and continue to climb as the herd matures. The dairy is involved in several ongoing research projects involving multiple universities and technology development companies.

Ryan is a firm believer in the concept of integrating technology into agriculture to improve efficiency, improve living conditions for animals, improve working conditions for humans, reduce carbon footprints, and enhance environmental responsibility. Ryan is also involved in developing international communication networks for commercial goat farmers to share information, protocols, BMPs and, hopefully someday, genetics.

Kendall Antonelli, ACS CCP®

Kendall Antonelli founded Antonelli’s Cheese in Austin, Texas alongside her husband John in 2010 after a honeymoon decision to quit their jobs in search of a passion with purpose – working together to support artisanal producers and tell the story of handcrafted foods. Driven by the mission to “Do Good. Eat Good.”, their small mom and pop shop has been voted by the Austin Chronicle “Best Artisan Food Company” and by Edible Austin “Local Heroes,” as well as named one of the best cheese shops in America by Travel + Leisure Magazine and The Gourmet Retailer. Today the business operates two cut-to-order cheese and charcuterie shops, an events program hosting 200+ tastings yearly; online web sales and shipping of gift baskets and a monthly cheese club; and a wholesale program supplying 175+ Texas chefs. In 2016, Kendall was featured by the Austin Business Journal as one of the top entrepreneurs to know in Austin; she also received a Blazing Star Award from the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas. Kendall regularly speaks and presents on topics of entrepreneurship and living a life of passion with purpose. Kendall serves on the board of the Austin Child Guidance Center, is on the steering committee of the Good Food Retailers Collaborative, and is honored to be a selected member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers and Les Dames d’Escoffier. She also spends time as an active member of Impact Austin, as well as on advisory boards for The Refinery Collective and the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance. Kendall earned a BA from Georgetown University, and an MA at the University of Texas Austin, in addition to a certificate in non-profit management. Kendall’s culinary journey and adventure are made sweeter with her husband John, toddlers Everett and Elia, and two adopted yellow lab mixes Lucky Day and Luna Loca.

Matt Benham
Matt Benham got his start making cheese for Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in 2011 and took a job with Arethusa Farm Dairy in Litchfield, CT, in 2014. In the years since, Matt has helped to grow the cheesemaking operation at Arethusa, including ongoing product development and development of the company’s food safety plan for cheese, butter, ice cream, and other dairy products.

Sarah Bowley
Sarah Bowley received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rhode Island. She currently serves as the Program Director for SVF Foundation, a collaborative nonprofit endeavor with Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the Smithsonian Institute, establishing a biorepository of cryopreserved germplasm from endangered breeds of livestock. Sarah has been a guest lecturer at a number of coveted academic institutions on topics surrounding genetics and reproduction, and completed published research in Advanced Reproductive Technologies for livestock and exotics. Her current professional affiliations include the International Embryo Transfer Society, American Embryo Transfer Association, The Livestock Conservancy and as President of the Board of Directors for the Arapawa Goat Breeders – USA. Sarah has successfully developed numerous educational programs for veterinary practitioners, livestock producers and the general public. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, as well as riding her quarter horse.

Jeannette Beranger
Jeannette is the Senior Program Manager for The Livestock Conservancy, where she plans and implements breed conservation programs. Jeanette has over 30 years’ experience working as an animal professional in zoological and non-profit institutions. She is an active lecturer, writer, and photographer- and co-authored the best-selling books An Introduction to Heritage Breeds and Managing Breeds for a Secure Future. Recently she was named one of Country Women Magazine’s “45 Amazing Country Women” for her work in conserving endangered breeds. At home she practices what she preaches and maintains a heritage breeds farm with a focus on critically endangered Crèvecœur chickens.

Zoe Brickley, ACS CCP®
Zoe Brickley began exploring the world of cheese while attending culinary school in New York City. From there she took on the role of cave manager and American buyer at Murray’s Cheese after some time spent behind the counter. Currently, Zoe leads development and marketing efforts for Jasper Hill Farm – a small network of dairies with an affinage facility, all dedicated to preserving the working landscape in northern Vermont through farmstead cheese production. Zoe loves to educate about cheese, having presented hundreds of hours for private and public organizations throughout her decade of cheese work. She is member of the Guilde des Fromagers and an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional.

Kim Bremmer
Kim Bremmer is the owner of Ag Inspirations, LLC where she travels and speaks about sustainable agriculture and the role of science, technology and innovation in how we grow and raise food. She is also a Business Development Specialist for U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. Kim grew up on a dairy farm in north central Wisconsin. She is a mother of two, graduate of UW-Madison and was a dairy nutritionist for 15 years. Kim is an academy member of the National Speaker’s Association, the Wisconsin state coordinator for Common Ground, a regular contributor on Rural Route radio, and is the president of Wisconsin Women for Agriculture. She serves on the Executive Advisory Counsel for the American Dairy Coalition and in the EPA Animal Agriculture Discussion Group. Kim specializes in communication and connecting with everyday consumers AND is a vocal champion of agriculture everywhere she goes…from the grocery store to the airport.

William Covaleski
William Covaleski is the founder and brewmaster at Victory Brewing Company. In this role, Covaleski plays a creative and pivotal role in leading the overall growth strategy of the company. He serves as creative muse and guide for Victory beer brands and culinary collaborations as well as a driving force behind community engagement. Covaleski and Victory co-founder, Ron Barchet, serve as brewmasters, providing strategic guidance in the development of new beer brands.

Since its inception in 1996, he assisted in transforming a shuttered Pepperidge Farm factory into a brewery that serves 37 states and 4 countries along with a 300-seat brewpub. Both the brewery and the restaurant support the local economy of Chester County, PA with 410 employees. In 2014 a second brewpub opened in Kennett Square, PA and a new, environmentally friendly 200,000 square foot brewery was built in Parkesburg, PA enabling Victory to double production. In 2015 the Parkesburg brewpub opened and self-guided brewery tours began. Under Covaleski and partner Barchet’s innovative passion, keen industry foresight and perpetual tutelage, Victory is currently ranked number 28 of the top 50 craft breweries.

Prior to co-founding Victory, he earned a degree from the prestigious Doemens Institute of Munich Germany, having completed their International Course in Brewing Studies after an invaluable five-year apprenticeship under German trained Dutch brewmaster, Theo deGroen. Before pursuing his craft beer dreams, Bill labored as an art director after earning his degree Magna Cum Laude from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. Bill currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Brewers Of Pennsylvania trade association, as President of the Brandywine Chapter of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and maintains a board position with the Downingtown Main Street Association, a community revitalization initiative founded by Downingtown residential and corporate citizens. Additionally, he serves as a board member of the Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board.

Kevin Corcoran, ACS CCP®

Kevin Corcoran worked as cheesemonger at the Natural Foods Co-op in Sacramento, California for eight years before moving into the wholesale side of cheese where he has been involved the last five years with sales, sourcing and purchasing for the California office of World’s Best Cheeses. While focused on cheese for most of his career his interest in traditional foodways extends to the broader applications of fermentation and preservation leading to his participation in this pairing presentation at the 2018 ACS conference.

George Crave
George Crave is President of Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, LLC. He oversees the plant management and cheese production. George is a licensed cheesemaker and has traveled to Italy, France and Switzerland to study cheesemaking and affinage. George and his three brothers own Crave Brothers Dairy Farm. For over 20 years George was in charge of the dairy herd and milk quality at Crave Brothers Dairy Farm. In 2001 he began managing the building and development of Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese. In 2002 the farmstead cheese factory was completed and the first cheese production began.

George is a 1978 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Farm & Industry Short Course. George served on the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension & Teaching (CARET) for the UW-Madison College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. He is a founding member of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. George is a member of the Wisconsin Cheesemaker’s Association and the Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute. George and his brothers were recognized in 2008 as World Dairy Expo Dairymen of the Year and in 2010 by the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association as Advocates of the Year. They hosted the 2009 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, a three day outdoor farm show with 80,000 attendees. In 2017 Crave Brothers Farm and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese were selected as Wisconsin Family Business of the Year. George is a 4-H leader and member of Holy Family Catholic Church. He and his wife Debbie have three children – Patrick, Brian and Roseanne.

Merrill Dagg
Merrill got her start in the food industry while working with the Specialty Food Association in NYC. Along the way, she’s worked as a buyer with Murray’s Cheese, on a dairy farm in Australia, and eventually came to DC where she first helped grow a local bean to bar chocolate business. In 2016, she joined the team at Glen’s as the Grocery Department Head where she is dedicated to curating a product selection that mission consistent, environmentally minded and highlights the very best of DC’s local food scene.

Debra Dickerson
Debra is the Director of Sales for Tomales Bay Foods and it’s sister company, Cowgirl Creamery. Before joining Tomales Bay Foods in 2009 Debra had 15 years under her belt building the sales and market recognition of small cheese producers  including Neal’s Yard Dairy, Jasper Hill Farm, Redwood Hill Farm, Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, and Cowgirl Creamery. When Debra is not working her exceptional team  at Tomales Bay Foods, she is explaining to the office dog, Xena, that the role of Chief Morale Officer does not include nipping at the pant cuffs of our Tomales Bay Foods visitors. Debra is currently teaching classes at The Cheese School of San Francisco and conducting a comparison of all cottage cheeses sold in California. If you have a favorite, please let her know. She can be contacted at [email protected] or 510 504 5460. Join Debra in supporting our cheesemakers.

Peter Dixon
Peter Dixon is a cheesemaker, teacher, and dairy foods consultant from Westminster West, VT. He is passionate about elemental cheesemaking, sourcing and producing exceptional milk, harnessing indigenous microbes, cultivating craft, and honoring heritage. Peter made his first cheeses 35 years ago – traditional, soft-ripened cheeses – at his family’s Guilford Cheese Company. Since then he has been engaged in myriad cheesemaking endeavors: Peter made Cheddar at Shelburne Farms and managed production at Vermont Creamery; he earned B.S. and M.S. in Dairy Science from the University of Vermont, with a focus on seasonal milk production; he developed the original cheeses for Consider Bardwell Farm and Westminster Dairy. As a consultant, Peter has worked in agricultural development projects in Macedonia, Albania, and Armenia and traveled the US, Canada, and China, helping hundreds of cheesemakers to establish small-scale businesses, develop recipes, and design food safety programs. Peter developed the recipe for Cornerstone and is a founding member of the Cornerstone Project. Peter makes raw milk cheese with indigenous cultures at Parish Hill Creamery with his wife Rachel, and offers consultations and workshops for artisan cheesemakers through Dairy Foods Consulting, and Westminster Artisan Cheesemaking in Westminster West, Vermont.

Adeline Druart
Adeline Druart is the President of Vermont Creamery. A native of France, Adeline Druart has built her career on the science and craft of artisan cheesemaking. She joined Vermont Creamery for a two-month internship in 2002. As a part of her Master’s thesis, Druart designed and supervised the construction of Vermont Creamery’s first aged cheesemaking facility, setting the pace for growth and increasing the company’s ability to meet rising demand. In 2015, after 14 years with Vermont Creamery, Druart was promoted to president.

Adeline has a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology Bio-Industrie from the Institut Universitaire Professionel, a Master’s degree in Biotechnology and Bio-industry from the Institut Universitaire Professionel – Alimentec, France, and a BTS in Dairy Technology and Science from Ecole Nationale d’Industrie Laitiere.

Mario Duchesne
Mario Duchesne is wildlife biologist with a Masters degree in conservation of biology. He worked in conservation of the woodland caribou in Charlevoix. Duchesne is also a farmer- and has raised goats for genetic development for the past 14 years. He has worked several years for the Charlevoix Lamb Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and the route of food places. For the past 12 years, Duchesne has been working on the development of Canadienne Cattle. He has developed a small network of dairy producers and cheese dairies. Besides he developed a specific appellation for all cheeses made from this breed in Quebec. A quality sign under the Quebec reserved appellations. He is working with researchers, producers and cheese makers to value the Canadienne cow on its own path. He has been focusing on the genetic development while caring for the preservation of the genetic integrity of the Canadienne. He has been working all these years in the objective of the development of a specific economical model valuing fine cheeses and products that will preserve the integrity of a legacy animal but also will make dairy production possible in remote northern small places.

Gordon Edgar
Gordon Edgar loves cheese and worker-owned cooperatives, and has been combining both of these infatuations as a cheesemonger at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco since 1994. Edgar has been a judge at national cheese competitions, a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild, and, since 2002, written about cheese and other things at Edgar has also written two books: Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (2010) and Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese (2015).

Brian Fiscalini
Brian Fiscalini is the CEO of Fiscalini Farms and Cheese Company. Brian grew up on the 4th generation family farm and has great memories of working alongside his father, John, as a youngster. Before coming home the family business Brian worked as an intern in Northern Indiana and Central Wisconsin for Fair Oaks Dairy Farms. Brian has worked in many aspects of animal husbandry, dairy cattle nutrition, growing crops, cheese manufacturing, sales and marketing for the family business. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Brian is married to wife, Danielle, and they have three children, Mathew, Claire and Thomas.

Ilana Fischer
After years of moonlighting at cheese shops, Ilana Fischer finally combined her love of cheese with her career in business and joined Schuman Cheese as its first Executive Vice President of Innovation & Strategy. Schuman Cheese is a large Italian cheese company with customers across the retail, food service and ingredient sectors. Since joining Schuman in 2014, Ilana developed, launched and managed Schuman’s new snack product, Wisps® Cheese Crisps- securing national distribution at dozens of major retailers in its first year on the market. Under Ilana’s leadership, the Schuman Cheese innovation team has become one of the most productive in the industry, successfully delivering 10+ new items to the market in the past three years. Ilana also oversees strategic planning and decision making for the company, setting growth goals, evaluating M&A opportunities, and improving internal operations to increase profit.

Prior to joining Schuman, Ilana was a Case Team Leader at Bain & Company’s New York office, where she led projects for Private Equity, Financial Services, Media and Energy clients. Before business school, she did new product development for a Boston-based education start-up. Ilana received a BA magna cum laude in Political Science & Middle Eastern Studies from Barnard College at Columbia University, and an MA and MBA from NYU, where she was a Dean’s Scholar and MacCracken Fellow.

Janet Fletcher
Janet Fletcher is the author or co-author of nearly 30 books on food and beverage, including Cheese & Wine, Cheese & Beer and Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Janet publishes the weekly Planet Cheese blog and is the cheese columnist for Specialty Food and Somm Journal magazines. She teaches cooking and cheese-appreciation classes around the country. Her journalism has received three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award, and her food writing has appeared in numerous national publications, including The New York Times, Saveur, Fine Cooking and Food & Wine. Read more about Janet at

Pat Ford
In 2005, brothers-in-law Tim Welsh and Pat Ford left the fast-paced world of software and real estate seeking a simple way of life as cheese makers. They traded their grinding commute and laptops for quiet pre-dawn mornings sitting with 500 gallons of farm-fresh milk carefully mixing and warming it for hours to develop their unique cheese. Delighting in the sweet smell of warm milk, they fell in love with the natural rhythms of making cheese the old fashioned way. The long days of polishing their recipe and the months spent waiting with an artisan’s patience for wheels to ripen to perfection have made our cheeses some of the best in America. The Beehive Cheese family is delighted to share our passion with you. Now the second generation is joining in the fun, nearly have of the employees are Family members. Pat knew nothing about Artisan Cheese when they started and admits to be learning every day since they started 13 years ago.

Rachel Fritz Schaal
Rachel Fritz Schaal makes seasonal, handmade, raw milk cheese at Parish Hill Creamery in Westminster West, VT. Since 2006, Rachel has worked with cheesemakers, first as the Educational Outreach Director for PASA, then as Coordinator and eventually President of the Vermont Cheese Council. Her mission is to goad and inspire cheesemakers to make the very best cheese possible: preaching the gospel of small farms, exceptional milk, traditional methods, and the education necessary to make folk cheese in the modern world. As a founding member of the Cornerstone Project, Rachel hopes to share both the cheese and the mission with cheesemakers near and far. With her husband Peter Dixon, Rachel makes raw milk cheese with indigenous cultures at Parish Hill Creamery, and offers consultations and workshops for artisan cheesemakers through Dairy Foods Consulting, and Westminster Artisan Cheesemaking in Westminster West, Vermont.

Rachel Freier, ACS CCP®
Rachel is an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional. She will talk about microbes, cheese rinds and how to cook with cheese for as long as you let her. Rachel worked as a restaurant manager for many years until she discovered her true calling in cheese. Rachel was part of the opening crew for Murray’s Cheese Bar on Bleecker St. and developed their cheese & beverage program over the course of 4 years. Rachel created Murray’s Cheese Bar Monger’s Table, a 10 course cheese tasting menu paired with beverages. As a beverage ambassador, she is an avid cider supporter. Her current path is the culinary route, producing pop up cheese dinners, writing cheese menu’s and recipes. Re-thinking the cheese course is the focus of her newest project, “The Cheese Course”, a collaborative initiative between Rachel, cheese makers, cheese professionals, chefs and like-minded and spirited industry folk. Rachel joined the Counter Culture team producing pop-up educational cheese seminars across the country in 2017. Enjoying every moment on the road as a cheese educator, she brings the beverage and culinary angle closer to the counter. Rachel currently works at FMA in Brooklyn as their food service specialist, servicing NYC restaurants with cheese.

Sam Frank
Sam Frank is a cheese importer working with Jumi, a cheese producer and purveyor based in the Emmental region of Switzerland. He was the recipient of the 2016 Daphne Zepos Teaching Award, where he traveled throughout Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, and England. His travels focused on the use of native dairy breeds to produce traditional cheeses in their respective regions in the hopes of finding inspiration to preserve our own North American heritage dairy breeds. Before this, Sam spent two years wearing many hats at Crown Finish Caves in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to that, Sam apprenticed with some of the best cheesemakers, and worked as a Cheesemonger at some of the best shops in the US.

Craig Gile, ACS CCP®
Craig Gile grew up on a small dairy farm in the Northeast Kingdom, VT. He has been with Cabot Creamery for 15 years specializing in cheese sensory and new product development. Craig has served as a technical judge at numerous cheese contests and currently serves on the ACS Judging and Competition Committee.

Mark Gillman
Mark Gillman is the co-owner and head cheese maker of Cato Corner Farm. Since 1997, the farm has made aged raw cheese from the milk of 35 Jersey cows on 75 acres of preserved farmland in eastern Connecticut. While his mother Elizabeth manages the herd, Mark is responsible for cheese making and business operations. Mark has studied cheese making and food safety with Peter Dixon, Margaret Morris, Kathy Biss, Giana Ferguson, Paul Kindstedt and the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, and Dr. Dennis D’Amico, among others. Mark and Liz are proud to have won several national and local awards for their cheese, most notably four times from ACS. They are excited to be developing their own starter cultures as an even truer expression of the farm’s terroir.

Sunshine Goodman
Sunshine Gonzalez-Goodman is the Director of Operations at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Austin, Texas. She joined the Antonelli’s team in 2016 as the Retail Manager and, through her leadership and people skills, she helped drive the company to its most profitable year after a period of significant reinvestment and growth and her team earned three noteworthy accolades this year alone: Best US Cheese Shops (The Gourmet Retailer), Best Gourmet Food Shop (Austin Monthly), and Local Hero Food Shop (Edible Austin). Sunshine has always been in the industry of customer service and people management. Before making the jump to the cheese world, Sunshine worked at Lush Cosmetics for almost a decade, serving in multiple roles as Retail Manager, New Shop Opener, Transition Support, and Retail Support for North America. She developed her passion for staff development at Lush while traveling to and working with teams on multiple continents. Sunshine is attracted to businesses and people with a strong sense of personal mission, and she sees it as her objective to help support and develop that mission for individuals to thrive and achieve their goals. Sunshine’s keys to success include finding and working for a company that values staff and is always open to new ideas and systems. The best place to learn what can be best for the business – from listening to your team. When she’s not eating or learning about cheese, Sunshine spends her time with her daughter Chloe, dogs, and walking town lake.

Andy Hatch
Andy Hatch was born in Wisconsin and studied Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin, where he apprenticed under Master Cheesemaker Gary Grossen. After apprenticing in Norway, France, Italy and England, Hatch returned to Wisconsin to run, and eventually purchase Uplands Cheese, a dairy farm in Dodgeville where he now lives, milks cows and makes two cheeses: Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Rush Creek Reserve. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an aged, alpine-style cheese made in the summer with raw, grass-fed milk. It is the most awarded cheese in American history, having won the American Cheese Society’s Best of Show and unprecedented three times. Rush Creek Reserve, made in the autumn, is a soft-ripened cheese wrapped in spruce bark.

Allison Hooper
Allison Hooper is a pioneer of artisan cheesemaking, entrepreneur and co-founder of Vermont Creamery, Allison Hooper was named one of the “most innovative women in food and drink” by Food & Wine and Forbes magazines in 2015. For more than 34 years, Allison has been at the helm of the artisan cheese industry, introducing goat cheeses, cultured butter, and crème fraiche to the American palate. In 2012 she and her business partner Bob Reese started Ayers Brook Goat Dairy in Randolph, VT to supply goats’ milk to the creamery and practice improved genetics, nutrition, and goat husbandry as a resource for aspiring goat farmers. A former president of the American Cheese Society and the founding president of the Vermont Cheese Council, Allison has been a voice for U.S. cheesemakers and a mentor to fellow entrepreneurs in the specialty food industry. Vermont Creamery was acquired in 2017 by Land O’Lakes, a farmer owned Cooperative. Allison’s family retained ownership of the Ayers Brook Goat Dairy.

Caroline Hostettler
Swiss native Caroline Hostettler started importing finest cheeses from her home country to the US through her company, Quality Cheese, 20 years ago. In 2013 she founded Adopt-an-Alp, a program that actively supports the tradition of Transhumance, and thus the survival of her beloved Alp Cheeses.

Andy Johnson
Andy is an Outreach Specialist / Assistant Coordinator for the Center for Dairy Research. As a licensed cheesemaker with over a decade of industry experience, Andy Johnson brings a great deal of knowledge and expertise to Center for Dairy Research clients looking to develop and refine their products. Though his focus is on specialty cheese with an emphasis on sheep and goat, Andy is involved in nearly every aspect of the CDR Cheese Applications program. From cheese trials and plant visits to short courses and presentations, Andy’s education in business as well as his previous experience as a cheesemaker in three states helps him to assist companies as they navigate all aspects of the industry. Andy is honored to aid U.S. cheesemakers and is passionate about his desire to help them to succeed and make an impact on the industry.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones is a cheesemonger, educator, and cheese ambassador. Steve began his cheesemongering career in the 1990s, opening several cheese counters in the Midwest. In 2006 Steve launched his own retail business, Steve’s Cheese, a small cheese counter in Northwest Portland that quickly developed a cult following. In March 2010, the business moved to SE Portland and became Cheese Bar, a retail cheese counter and casual restaurant that offers a rotating menu built with artisan and farmstead products. Cheese Bar allows Steve to share his love of beer and his pursuit of interesting cheese and beverage pairings, a passion that he explored while running Cheese Annex for three years, a food purveyor located inside The Commons Brewery. In 2015, Steve voyaged further into the food and beverage pairing experience when he opened Chizu, a cheese bar influenced by the aesthetics and dining approach of a sushi bar. On his quest for cheesy nirvana, Steve has collaborated with a large and eclectic cast of food artisans, established cheese and beverage festivals, led numerous classes, and participated in national and international cheesemongering competitions. He has appeared in local and national media outlets, including Portland’s Live Wire radio show and National Public Radio’s The Splendid Table.

Liza Kaplansky
In 2012, Liza Kaplansky followed her passion and began her cheese career in San Francisco, CA. She fervently absorbed as much as she could and became the Cheese Buyer at Canyon Market in San Francisco. It was there that she learned the ins and outs of the cheese retail world and has not looked back since. She spent 4 years working for pioneering California cheesemakers Laura Chenel and Marin French Cheese Company and acted as their West Coast Sales Manager. In May 2018, Liza joined Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont as their Director of Sales & Marketing. She is an active member of the California Artisan Cheese Guild and sits on the ‘SF Cheese Fest’ Planning Committee. Liza and her (Sake expert) husband Jesse have taught several ‘cheese + sake’ pairing classes together and also started

Annette Kendall
Annette Kendall is a Doctoral candidate in Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Her dissertation research has focused on cooperation within the specialty cheese industry, a subject which has captured not only her mind, but also heart and soul, due to the many wonderfully passionate people she has been fortunate to meet over the past couple of years. In addition, Annette teaches undergraduate courses in rural entrepreneurship and strategic management. Annette moved with her husband and son to Columbia, Missouri in 2015 to begin her doctoral studies. Prior to that, her professional life had been centered around executive-level roles in a variety of industries such as accounting, construction, and aged care. She also ran her own business providing consultancy advice to rural entrepreneurs, economic development agencies, and local councils.

Samantha Kane, ACS CCP®
Samantha Kane began her cheese career in 2013 at Di Bruno Bros. in Philadelphia, PA. Samantha competed in the Cheesemonger Invitational in 2016 and finished in 4th place. Samantha received her CCP in the same year. During 2017 she spent much of the year traveling to visit dairies to learn more about their practices and sustainability.

Gerry O’Brion
After years as an executive with billion dollar brands, Gerry O’Brion is now a professional speaker and strategy consultant who uses big company strategies to grow businesses of all sizes, regardless of their budget. His keynote address has helped thousands of CEOs and executives create disruptive change in their industries. Gerry teaches a simple process that executives use to improve their decision-making, and increase their influence, through asking four simple questions.Gerry began his career in marketing at Procter & Gamble and then was an executive for Coors Light, Quiznos, and Red Robin.

Mariana Marques de Almeida
Mariana Marques de Almeida has a B.S. in Agricultural Science and a M.S. in Animal production from the University of Lisbon in Portugal. She has dedicated her life to improving and expanding the Sheep and Goat milk industry; from milk production to milk quality to cheese making. Her work began in Portugal where Mariana worked as a field technician for a large Assaf sheep dairy farm. She then began consulting for several dairy sheep flocks and small artisan cheese plants. After 15 years, Mariana moved to the south of Spain in 2007 to instead focus on Spanish goat breeds and cheeses. In 2015, she embraced a new project and moved to the US. Mariana now resides in Monroe, Wisconsin and, along with partners, started Ms. J and Co., which is dedicated to consulting and helping develop the Sheep and Goat Dairy Industry in the US. In 2016 the company started a dairy sheep farm which will hold a total of 1,500 dairy Assaf sheep.

Christophe Megevand
Christophe has a graduate degree from the French National Dairy School, and over 35 years of cheese plant management experience. He started in traditional cheese making in the Alps and has a broad knowledge in many high-end specialty cheese types. He is the Schuman Cheese Executive Vice-President of Cheese Manufacturing and leads several successful teams all recipients of many awards.

Eric Meredith
Eric Meredith stepped into the food world as a dishwasher in a hospital kitchen in Lynn, Massachusetts at the age of 14. He earned a degree in Culinary Arts and a B.A. in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in NYC. Eric later worked for Herve Mons in France as his right-hand man helping him design his tunnel in Ambierle and running the day-to-day operations at the caves in St Haon le Chatel. During his 6 years in France, Eric learned cheesemaking from the best artisans in France and affinage from Herve’s network of affineurs. Eric’s next big project was with Wegmans in Rochester, NY where he designed, built and managed their affinage facility. Eric now works with Neal’s Yard Dairy as the project manager facilitating the design and move to their new aging and distribution facility in London. He also volunteers his time as the chairman of the education committee for the American Cheese Society, where he stretches the boundaries and strives for excellence in artisan stewardship. Eric also started a consulting business helping cheese makers, affineurs and retailers all over the world design, troubleshoot and fine tune cheese making and affinage programs and facilities.

Ari Miller
1732 Meats was created out of owner Ari Miller’s love for cured meats and his do-it-yourself sensibility. Growing up in Northern California, his favorite pastime was driving around the Bay Area to find hidden gems and out-of-the-way restaurants where he could sample local foods. His move to Philadelphia in 1998 coincided with a big restaurant boom and he has been enjoying the Philly food scene ever since.

About 15 years ago, Ari had a taste for garlic bacon, but could not find it anywhere. So he decided to make it himself. Armed with Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s book Charcuterie, he began to experiment with pork bellies, salts, and flavors. His lucky family and friends raved about the garlic bacon, and he added a black peppercorn and jalapeno bacon to his repertoire.

He realized he had something very special and in the spring of 2013, he set up at the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market for the first time, with 20 pounds each of Garlic Insanity, Black Peppercorn, and Jalapeno bacons under the 1732 Meats name. That first day, Ari sold out of the bacon. The next three markets were the same, and many people were return customers. Within six months, Ari was creating not only bacon (including a fourth flavor, Spanish Smoked Paprika) but dry cured meats such as pancetta and guanciale, which were also enthusiastically received by the farmer’s market customers.

In April of 2015, 1732 Meats moved into its own USDA-inspected production facility just outside Philadelphia. The product line has continued to grow and now features almost a dozen cured meats, including Wagyu bresaola, rosemary and pomegranate lonzas, regular and spicy guanciale, and the 2017 Good Food award winning lamb prosciutto.

Sue Miller
Sue Miller is a dairy farmer and a cheesemaker. With her husband and two sons, Sue owns and operates Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. The Millers run a vivacious herd of dairy cows on fertile pastures, and you can taste the vibrant milk in Sue’s cheeses. As a longtime board member of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Sue championed educational offerings for dairy farmers and cheesemakers. On the PA Cheese Guild Steering Committee, Sue is actively building a community of knowledgeable cheesemakers and cheese lovers. And as a member of the American Cheese Society Education Committee, Sue passionately promotes artisanal cheese and cheesemakers, helping to develop a supportive network for cheesemakers through continuing education for all members.

Wendy Mitchell
Wendy Mitchell is a chronic entrepreneur and restauranteur. After graduating from SMU with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Wendy worked in hotels and restaurants for 10 years. In 1995 she started Mission Burritos, a fast-casual burrito shop that earned a cult-like following, in Houston. Mission Burritos was sold to a public company in 2006, and Mitchell and family moved to Edinburgh Scotland, where she learned to make cheese during farm stays at several of Scotland and England’s finest dairies. After a year in Scotland, Wendy and family moved to the Roaring Fork Valley. She started Avalanche Cheese Company in 2008, establishing a goat dairy in Paonia, CO and a creamery in Basalt, CO. In 2014, the company opened a USDA meat processing plant to make old-world style dry-cured salumi. In the fall of 2014, Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop opened on Restaurant Row in Aspen, CO. Next up was Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar, which opened in 2016. Mitchell and her team of young chefs, bakers, picklers, cheese makers, brewers, butchers, bartenders and charcutiers are fanatics about all things food and drink. Wendy closed the cheese making program in 2017 after a decade during which Avalanche Cheese was recognized as one of the finest goat cheese artisans in the country, winning over two dozen medals at national tasting competitions. Today her focus is on the restaurant and gourmet food shop and cocktail bar, bringing World Farmhouse fare, artisan meats, cheese and food products, craft cocktails, and a welcoming atmosphere to her adopted hometown.

Gina Mode
Gina was raised on a fifth-generation family dairy farm outside Fort Atkinson, WI. She went on to earn a B.S. in Food Science and an M.B.A, in addition to Wisconsin Butter and Cheesemaker Licenses. Gina is a member of the Cheese Industry and Applications Group at the Center for Dairy Research, and works closely with cheese brokers, ingredient suppliers, and manufacturers – from farmstead to commercial. She is involved with everything from cheese trials and troubleshooting to short course instruction and outreach efforts. Gina particularly enjoys working with cheesemakers to develop new specialty cheeses. She has served as a technical judge for a variety of state, national, and international cheese contests.

Shana Muhammad
With a background in sales and business development coupled with a deep passion for food, Shana joined the Glen’s Garden Market team in its second year of operations after being a customer for a year. Shana has served as Glen’s Catering Director, Store Manager of Glen’s 2nd location, and as Marketing Director. In her role as Marketing Director, Shana supports the buyers with vendor relations, sales, and events.

Christopher Munsey, ACS CCP®
Chris Munsey discovered his interest for traditionally produced food products while learning to make Bergkäse, on a tiny dairy farm in Alto Adige, Italy. His cheese-related endeavors took him to Vermont to work for a specialty foods distributor, and several years working behind the cheese counter and in the wholesale department of Murray’s Cheese Shop in New York City, as well as a short stint with the Essex St. Cheese Company. Chris’ passion for cheese is only matched by his love of good beer which he explored professionally as general manager of 61 Local, a craft beer bar in Brooklyn, NY for two years. He returned full time to the cheese world as Vermont Creamery’s West Coast Sales Manager and has been enjoying the dynamic California beer and cheese culture ever since. Chris is a Certified Cicerone and Certified Cheese Professional and has taught classes on beer and cheese appreciation since 2005 in New York and California.

Rueben Nilsson
Rueben was co-owner of and Head Cheesemaker for The Lone Grazer Creamery in Minneapolis, MN. From its founding in 2014 to 2017, Rueben was responsible for the facility design, recipe development and all aspects of cheese production from milk sourcing through in-store sampling. Rueben Nilsson is a Minnesota native raised in a small town in the North woods and transplanted to Minneapolis. He learned the science behind Cheesemaking at the University of Minnesota and the practical art of Cheesemaking at Caves of Faribault®. In 2017, Rueben returned to the Caves where he is currently the head cheesemaker. Rueben is a board member of both the League of MN Cheesemakers and the Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association (UMDIA).

Veronica Pedraza, ACS CCP®
Veronica Pedraza is currently the manager of Pastoral Artisan Cheese’s Lake Street store in downtown Chicago. She has worked as a cheesemaker for over ten years and continues to provide her knowledge and expertise as a consultant. She has made award-winning cheese at Sweet Grass Dairy, Jasper Hill Farm and Meadowood Farms. She received her Certified Cheese Professional designation in 2012 and has served on the ACS Education Committee since 2014.

Rachel Perez, ACS CCP®

Growing up with a French father, cheese was always in Rachel’s blood. Even as a child, she gave her family detailed tasting notes about the cheese plate at the dinner table. She joined the cheese world in 2006. Rachel worked in independent cheese shops, international grocery stores, French cheese makers and cheese importers across the United States and Europe. She is currently a category specialist for Tony’s Fine Foods. Rachel has been an active member of the American Cheese Society Judging and competition committee since 2011, and in 2012 was the ACS Official Conference Cheesemonger.

Bronwen Percival

Bronwen Percival is the cheese buyer and technical manager for Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. In addition to working with cheesemakers and the company’s maturation team to select and optimize the quality of the cheese they sell, she works to mobilize collaboration between cheesemakers and the scientific community. In 2012, she instigated a biennial conference on the Science of Artisan Cheese. In early 2014, she spent two months in the Dutton Lab at Harvard University studying the role of marine-associated Proteobacteria on cheese rinds. Along with Dr. Benjamin Wolfe, she co-founded the website, a scientific resource for producers, purveyors, and enthusiasts of artisan microbial foods, and more recently she served on the editorial board of the Oxford Companion to Cheese. Bronwen and her husband Francis are the authors of the book Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese.

Francis Percival
Francis Percival writes on food and wine for The World of Fine Wine. His work won Louis Roederer Best International Wine Columnist in 2013 and Pio Cesare Food & Wine Writer of the Year in 2015. Francis is also a judge in The World of Fine Wine World’s Best Wine List Awards. Apart from The World of Fine Wine, his work has appeared in Decanter and the Financial Times in the UK and Culture, Saveur, and Gourmet in the US. Francis co-founded and hosts the London Gastronomy Seminars, a long-running series of lectures and talks in London dedicated to making the technical side of food and drink fun and accessible.

Jesse Pugach
Jesse has worked as a professional in the Sake industry for 14 years in a range of capacities. His journey began as the sake buyer for a high-end Japanese Restaurant group before taking the role of Brand Manager for a Sake & Spirits importing company. Following that, he went to work for the largest Wine & Spirits wholesaler in the US, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, where he has served as the Sake Specialist for the last 7 years. In his role with Southern, Jesse is responsible for managing the sake portfolio, sales and education. He has traveled to Japan numerous times to develop bonds with sake brewers, gained several certifications and in 2017 became a Certified Sake Educator for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET). Jesse has a passion for teaching sake and empowering enthusiasts to feel more comfortable and knowledgeable when drinking sake. He enjoys trying unique sake pairings, especially sake & cheese with his wife, Liza.

Jess Perrie, ACS CCP®
Jess is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional with a M.S. in Food Science, specializing in Cheese Chemistry. She was the first recipient of The Daphne Zepos Teaching Award in 2013, in which she studied the shepherding and cheese heritage of the Spanish Basque country. Jess currently works for Essex Street Cheese, a group of mongers-turned-importers focusing on the education of classic European cheeses selected at the source. In addition, Jess was a founding partner of The Cheeseletes LLC. Previously, Jess formerly worked at Fromagex, Beehive Cheese Company, and has cheese production experience from both Silvery Moon Creamery and Drake Family Farms.

Vince Razionale
Vince’s cheese career started at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA, where he was a store manager and the domestic cheese buyer. He then worked at Jasper Hill where he worked in tasting, sales, and inventory management. Vince now oversees the grading and cave programs at Grafton Village Cheese Company.

Jeff Roberts
A resident of Montpelier Vermont, Jeff Roberts is president of Cow Creek Creative Ventures, dedicated to creating solutions in the areas of agriculture and food policy, conservation, the environment, and community economic development. He was co-founder and principal consultant at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont. His book, The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese (Chelsea Green, 2007), was the first comprehensive survey of small-scale producers. He is a member of Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. He teaches the history and culture of food at the New England Culinary Institute, is a visiting professor at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Science, provides consulting services to a wide array of small-scale food producers, and is a frequent speaker in Europe and the United States on artisan food, sustainable agriculture, and the working landscape. Jeff’s new book Salted & Cured: Savoring the Culture, Heritage and Flavor of America’s Preserved Meats (Chelsea Green, 2017) examines the historical and cultural aspects of dry-cured meat from 1630 to the present. Recently, he began to lead cultural and culinary tours to the Italian regions of Molise and Piedmont.

During his career, Jeff was a meteorologist, museum curator and historian, and director of development at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. From 1987 – 1994, he was associate dean at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. From 1995 – 1998, he was vice president for external affairs for the Vermont Land Trust.

For more than a decade, Jeff was active in Slow Food International and USA, including service as a director and treasurer of the national board; locally he served as a director of the Central Vermont Community Land Trust; Vermont Arts Council; and Vermont Fresh Network.

Dick Roe
Dick Roe, (retired), former Vice President of Administration for Gourmet Foods International, has been moving food in one form or another since he worked at Russ McCall’s original Cheese Shop in 1967. Dick has been involved in the retail, food service, and the specialty food distribution business for almost 50 years. Dick was a member of the American Cheese Society for 17 years and served on the Board for 7 years. Dick served as the ACS President from Aug 2015 – July 2016. He was inducted into Les Guilde des Fromager in 2012. Having been raised by a herd of wild cows in Kentucky, and fed only fresh raw milk and cheeses made by these magical cows, Dick has a fond place in his heart (and stomach) for cheeses and the cheese makers who create them. He can be reached at [email protected]

Julien Rouillaud
Julien is cheese cheesemaker from Franche-Comté region in eastern France. Julien has over 19 years of cheese experience- ranging from traditional cheese manufacture in the Alps and Jura, as well as a specialist in the production of hard and semi-hard cheeses at the National Dairy School of France. Julien has taught and provided technical support to dairies in Colombia, Ireland, Scotland, and Switzerland.

Bill Rufenacht, ACS CCP®
Bill has spent his career in the cheese industry, including work in production, packaging, quality control, and grading. He is a third generation licensed Wisconsin cheesemaker, has held Wisconsin licenses for all categories of cheese grading for over 35 years, is an ACS CCP, and began working with the Lexicon group this year.

Simran Sethi
Simran Sethi is a journalist and educator focused on food, sustainability and social change. Named the environmental “messenger” by Vanity Fair and designated one of the top eight women saving the planet by Marie Claire, Simran is the creator of “The Slow Melt,” the first podcast on the continuum of chocolate, and winner of the 2017 SAVEUR award for Best Food Podcast. She is also the author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love. The book tells the story of changes in food and agriculture through bread, wine, chocolate, coffee and beer, and was named one of the best food books of 2016 by Smithsonian. Sethi is a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) in Oakland, USA; a communications professor at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy; and a former visiting scholar at the Cocoa Research Centre in St. Augustine, Trinidad.

Kari Skibbie
Kari Skibbie has always had a love for agriculture. She grew up on a hobby farm among the horses, steers, chickens, pigs, goats, dogs, and cats, and eventually earned an Agricultural Business degree with an Animal Science minor at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, followed by an MBA from University of Wisconsin -Eau Claire. After college, Kari took a role in animal husbandry doing dairy cow nutrition and managing a calf network system with Purina Feed and Land O’Lakes. Her leap into the wonderful world of cheese began with her role as national sales manager for the award-winning Wisconsin Cheese brand, Marieke Gouda. After discovering her new passion, Kari became a WI licensed cheesemaker. Currently, Kari serves as Manager – Dairy Company Communications at Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB), where she serves the WI dairy farmers through the national checkoff program by helping cheese and dairy companies increase their sales, which helps increase demand for WI dairy milk. Kari is very active in her community and has been on the city council, a member of the junior chamber of commerce, and is a volunteer EMT for the Thorp Fire District. Kari loves to travel but her favorite place is to be home with her husband, 2 daughters, 2 horses, and 2 dogs.

Thalassa Skinner
Thalassa (Lassa) Skinner is co-founder & owner of the general consumer cheese magazine Culture, now in its 10th year. She caught the cheese bug 20+ years ago and earned her chops at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA – as well as in restaurant kitchens across the Boston region. In 2000, she headed west and settled in the Napa Valley, where she started a cheese program at Tra Vigne’s wine bar, managed the St. Helena Farmers Market, opened the Oxbow Cheese Merchant in downtown Napa, co-authored Cheese For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, May 2012) – and started Culture. Lassa is passionate about spreading the love of cheese, judging in competitions and teaching at venues across the country and overseas as well as partnering with chefs, wineries, breweries and all things food-centric. Always happiest behind a counter, Culture recently launched educational seminars under Lassa’s capable hands, both for industry and for cheese lovers.

Sophie Slesinger
Sophie is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA, where she recently graduated with an MA in Food Studies and an MBA from Chatham University. Prior to graduate school, Sophie worked as a nationally recognized fromager for the Michelin-starred Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, D.C. Sophie learned about cheese as the program director of Saxelby Cheesemongers in New York, linking over 100 restaurants to fine farmstead cheese. In June 2013, Sophie was selected by Zagat NYC as one of the “30 Under 30” for her work with Saxelby. Sophie has talked about and made cheese extensively for TV, radio, and print for The Cooking Channel, The Washington Post, The New York Times, WTOP radio and Let’s Talk Live TV. Her own food writing was published by Edible and Serious Eats, and she’s produced over 75 episodes of the cheese-centric podcast “Cutting the Curd,” on the Heritage Radio Network.

Russell Smith
For the past 25 years Russell has been involved at the consumer end of the cheese industry. As a retailer and distributor in Canberra he forged a reputation as an advocate for the Australian cheese industry. He is passionate about cheese and the industry. Russell is a qualified cheese maker who consults to cheese makers in Australia and New Zealand. He continues his cheese education by making small trial batches of cheese with milk from a friends small jersey herd throughout the summer months. He has been judging dairy products in the major competitions in Australia since 1995. He is the Chief Judge for the Australian Grand Dairy Awards and also the chief judge for the Royal Queensland and Royal Perth Cheese and Dairy Shows. He is also the master judge for the New Zealand Cheese Awards. He judged the World Cheese Championships in Wisconsin in 2012 , 2014, 2016 & 2018 and the American Cheese Society Competition in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017. He has also judged the Global Cheese Awards in Frome, Somerset in the UK in 2011. He continues his sensory education programs for cheese judges, cheese makers and retailers in Australia and internationally.

Dean Sommer
Dean holds a Masters Degree in Food Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Immediately after graduation Dean worked for 5 years for Professor Bud Schultz at the University of Wisconsin Dairy Science Department doing research on bovine mastitis. Following this Dean was employed for 18 years by the Alto Dairy Cooperative based in Waupun, WI. Dean began as Director of Technical Services then advanced to V.P. of Technical Services and finally V.P. of Operations where his responsibilities included the cooperative’s cheese, whey and cheese packaging manufacturing facilities, laboratory, quality assurance, research and development, regulatory affairs, engineering and maintenance, and waste treatment. Dean then joined the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research where he has been for the last 15 years. Dean is a member of the CDR senior management team and a cheese technologist working closely with cheese manufacturers in Wisconsin and around the country as well as with cheese buyers, brokers, converters, retailers, food service companies, and food companies utilizing cheese. Dean helps these companies optimize the flavor, performance, and selection of cheese for their particular use. Dean’s role at the CDR involves teaching in dairy industry short courses as well as outreach and troubleshooting activities with the cheese industry. Dean is also head of the Process Group which works closely with the industry on cutting edge milk protein and whey fractionation technologies, as well as concentration and drying to maximize the value of their whey streams.

Carlos Souffront
Carlos Souffront has spent the whole of his professional career working with cheese. From his first job working for the Michigan specialty grocer the Merchant of Vino, to his formative tenure as buyer within the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, to purchasing for two of the Bay area’s most esteemed and long-established specialty food chains, Andronico’s Community Market and A.G. Ferrari Foods, to his current role as cheese specialist for Tony’s Fine Foods/UNFI, Carlos’ enthusiasm and connoisseurship for cheese has made him one of the retail industry’s most knowledgeable and experienced mongers.

Rory Stamp, ACS CCP®
Rory Stamp has worked in the New England artisan cheese industry for more than six years. Beginning as a farmhand milking on an organic dairy on Martha’s Vineyard, Rory trained as a cheesemaker at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese before an apprenticeship in cheesemaking and affinage at Consider Bardwell Farm in Southern Vermont. Looking to further his cheese and wine education, Rory started working as a cheesemonger for Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA. Rory filled many roles during his career at Formaggio Kitchen: Including educator, Wine Buyer, and Domestic Cheese Buyer. In 2015, he returned to his native Vermont to manage the cheese business at Shelburne Farms, where he ran sales, distribution, marketing, and mail order for an award-winning farmstead cheddar cheesemaker and educational non-profit. Last year, Rory opened Burlington, VT’s only cut-to-order cheese and charcuterie counter under the auspices of Dedalus Wine–one of the nation’s premiere indie wine shops. As the Artisan Food Manager at the new Dedalus Wine Shop, Market, and Wine Bar, Rory works directly with domestic cheesemakers and charcuterie producers to curate a selection for a retail, restaurant, and mail order business. Rory Stamp is an ACS CCP, holds a Level 2 Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and won the 2018 Winter Cheesemonger Invitational in San Francisco.


Douglas Stearn
Douglas Stearn is currently the Deputy Director for Regulatory Affairs at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.  Mr. Stearn joined the FDA in 2009 and was previously the Director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, where he had responsibility for overseeing the execution of the agency’s import operations and compliance activities that cut across the commodities FDA regulates.  Before coming to the FDA, Mr. Stearn worked as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Litigation for over fifteen years.  In the course of his work at the Department of Justice, Mr. Stearn litigated numerous civil and criminal cases referred by FDA and other consumer protection agencies.

Mr. Stearn received his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1987, and his law degree from Cornell Law School in 1991.

Carolyn Stromberg
Carolyn Stromberg is the founder and proprietor of Righteous Cheese, a traveling cheese bar. Her passion for gastronomy has inspired her to continually create new food experiences for food lovers over her 12+ years in the retail, restaurant and service industry. Carolyn, whose first word was “cheese,” came to her love of artisanal cheese by grabbing a minute here or there to stuff her face full of delicious cheeses while serving at one of DC’s best restaurants. Her cheese experiences have since included retail, wholesale, restaurant service, and teaching about cheese & wine/beer pairing. Her first cheese-centric gig was behind the counter at Cowgirl Creamery in 2006, learning from the best. She then went on to create a wholesale program for local cheese shop, Cheesetique, in 2007; run the Gaylord National Harbor’s cheese cart as maître d’fromage in 2008; and founded The Cheese Course, offering cheese classes, events and consulting in DC, in 2010. In 2012, Carolyn opened Righteous Cheese: a 200-sq-ft, cut-to-order shop focusing on unique & uncommon cheeses, located in Union Market, a rebuilt yet historic food hall. In 2018, Righteous Cheese moved to Charlottesville, VA in its next incarnation: a traveling cheese bar. Traveling to wineries, breweries & events, Righteous Cheese brings its best-of-class cheeses and pairings to the idyllic Blue Ridge mountain town. Carolyn has been featured in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, Martha Stewart Living, Culture Magazine, Southern Living, Fox News, USA Today, and The Washingtonian; and has made several television appearances, notably on ABC’s “The Chew”, PBS, WTTG, and WJLA.

Liz Thorpe
When her travelogue and compendium of American cheese, The Cheese Chronicles was published, reviewers said, “Young and hip, Liz accomplishes the impossible, making cheese seem sexy.” Liz has worked in cheese for sixteen years, for the first decade as the Vice President of New York’s Murray’s Cheese and more recently as the founder of consulting company The People’s Cheese. Her definitive tome The Book of Cheese was published in September 2017 and nominated for an IACP award as the year’s best reference book. Liz talks cheese with Rachael Ray, The Wall Street Journal and starred in Epicurious’s inaugural Price Points video—with 3M viewers it’s their most popular video ever. Liz lives in New Orleans where her family grows satsumas, hopes to get chickens and eats a lot of shrimp. After all this time, she still thinks cheese is sexy.

Andrew Torrens
Andrew attended Hampshire College (Amherst, MA) where he studied Playwriting & Microbiology. In 2010 while living in New York City, Andrew took an internship working in Murray’s cheese caves and immediately realized that cheese served as a perfect vehicle to combine his love of art & science. From there Andrew worked as a cheesemaker over the next 7 years at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Cato Corner & Capriole. In 2017 Andrew transitioned to a food safety role at Eataly where he hopes to provide assistance and guidance to small producers interested in improving their internal food safety systems and comply with new local and FDA governmental regulations.

Danielle Vogel
Danielle Vogel, the creator of Glen’s Garden Market, comes from a long line of grocers, stretching back four generations. Before founding Glen’s, Danielle worked in government for ten years, for Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, as well as for the Department of Justice as an environmental litigator enforcing the Clean Air Act. When the effort to pass comprehensive climate legislation failed, she dedicated herself to finding a new (more incremental) way to address global warming. And thus evolved the idea for Glen’s Garden Market, where customers can purchase items from the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s finest produce, meats, poultry, dairy products and specialty foods in a space designed to celebrate seasonality and offer unprecedented access to environmentally sustainable, locally grown foods. Danielle and her team opened a second location in December 2015. In its first five years, Glen’s launched 75 sustainability-minded food small businesses, giving over six dozen producers their very first chance to sell on the shelves of Glen’s Garden Market. The stores are solar powered and generate no food waste.

Ari Weinzweig
Ari Weinzweig is CEO and co-founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, which includes Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Bakehouse, Creamery, Catering, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Coffee Company, Roadhouse, Candy Manufactory, Events at Cornman Farms. And the newest business, Miss Kim, which serves great tasting Korean fare. Zingerman’s produces and sells all sorts of full flavored, traditional foods in its home of Ann Arbor, Michigan to the tune of $60,000,000 a year in annual sales. Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the 2006 James Beard Foundation and has awarded a Bon Appetit Lifetime Achievement Award among many recognitions. Ari is the author of a number of articles and books, including Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon (Zingerman’s Press), Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating (Houghton Mifflin), Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 1: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business, and Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 2: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Being a Better Leader. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 3; A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Managing Ourselves, was released in December of 2013. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 4; A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business was released in summer of 2016. In 2017 Ari was named one of “The World’s 10 Top CEOs (They Lead in a Totally Unique Way)” by Inc. Magazine.

Ben Wenk
Ben Wenk is a seventh generation farmer at Three Springs Fruit Farm. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in Agroecology, he cut his teeth at farmer’s markets in Philly, Baltimore, and DC – all while accumulating wholesale contacts for the farm before founding Ploughman Cider in late 2016. Ben is passionate about linking local farms with skilled food artisans for the greater benefit of rural economies and a regional culinary identity… and everyone’s quality of life!

Benjamin Wolfe
Benjamin Wolfe is an assistant professor of microbiology in the Department of Biology at Tufts University. He received a B.Sc. in 2003 from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University in 2011, and was a postdoctoral researcher in the FAS Center for Systems Biology from 2010-2014. Benjamin’s lab at Tufts uses fermented foods as model systems to identify the processes that shape the diversity of microbiomes. In addition to research focused on the basic biology of microbes, the Wolfe lab has worked with chefs and food producers, including David Chang’s Momofuku Culinary Lab and Jasper Hill Farms, to understand the roles of microbes in creating the diversity of flavors in fermented foods. Benjamin has also written about the biology of food for various publications, including Lucky Peach magazine, Boston magazine, and World of Fine Wine.

LinYee Yuan
LinYee Yuan is the founder and editor of MOLD (, an editorial platform about designing the future of food. Through original reporting, MOLD explores how designers can address the coming food crisis by creating products and systems that will help feed 9 billion people by the year 2050. In addition to the website and a self-published bi-annual print magazine, MOLD hosts events and exhibitions, works with next generation food brands, and commissions products from emerging designers. LinYee was previously the entrepreneur in residence for and an editor for Core77, T: The New York Times Style Magazine and Theme Magazine and has written about design and art for Food52, Design Observer, Cool Hunting, Elle Decor and Wilder Quarterly. LinYee also contributed the foreword to Food Futures: Sensory Explorations in Food Design and Cooking Up Trouble.