2017 Judge Roster
Marc Bates, Bates Consulting, LLC
Marc Bates of Bates Consulting LLC, is semi-retired after a 50 year long career in the cheese, dairy and food industries. He managed the Washington State University Creamery for 27 years and has offered Cheesemaking and Pasteurization Short-courses on the Pacific Coast in association with major universities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California for 31 years. Marc has served as a judge for Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Competition, the United States and World Cheese Championships, the American Cheese Society, and the American Dairy Goat Association. He has been an independent consultant since 2000. He now resides in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Jeff Broadbent, Ph.D., Utah State University
Dr. Jeff R. Broadbent is a professor of Food Science at Utah State University, where he also holds an administrative appointment as the Associate Vice President for Research and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Dr. Broadbent is an expert on the physiology and genetics of lactic acid bacteria used in cheesemaking, and has an extensive record of research and teaching on the biochemistry and enzymology of cheese flavor development. He has served as a judge for many competitions, including the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association, U.S. Cheese Championships, the World Cheese Championship, and the American Cheese Society.
Kelsey Choquette, MS, Iowa State University
Kelsey Choquette graduated with a Masters from Iowa State University and a Bachelors from the University of Illinois. She competed at the Regional Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Competition in 2016, taking first place overall, and at the National Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Competition in 2017, where she placed second overall. Kelsey is currently employed with the Dairy Farmers of America as a Food Scientist in their beverage division.
Mike Comotto, Dairy Concepts
Mike Comotto has been associated with the Cheese Industry for 40 years. He received his BS in Food Science in 1977 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He began his career as a Technical Cheese Manager and has held several other positions with Nordica International, Rhone-Poulenc, Rhodia, Danisco, and DairiConcepts in Sales, Technical Service, and Research. He received 2 Cheese Making Patents in 1988. Mike has served as Board Member on several Dairy Organizations. He has maintained his Wisconsin Cheese Makers and Cheese Graders License since 1988. He continues to serve as an official Collegiate Cheddar Cheese Judge.
MaryAnne Drake, Ph.D., North Carolina State University
MaryAnne Drake is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, North Carolina State University where she conducts research on the flavor and flavor chemistry of dairy products. Her research is focused on integrating sensory science with flavor chemistry to understand flavors and flavor sources in dairy products. MaryAnne is the Past President of the American Dairy Science Association, the Director of the National Dairy Research Institute Sensory Applications Lab and the Director of the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center.
Mucio Furtado, Ph.D., Dupont
Mucio Furtado was born in Brazil and has a BS degree in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil and a Master’s and PhD degrees in Food Science, at MSU, East Lansing, MI, USA. He has been working with cheesemakers all over Latin America since 1990. He has worked for 12 years with Chr. Hansen in Brazil and 15 years with Danisco DuPont, also in Brazil, always providing technical support to the cheese industry all over Latin America. He has published 11 books on cheese technology, in Portuguese and Spanish. Presently, Mucio works for Dupont in São Paulo, Brazil.
Mauro Furtado, Ph.D. Centro de Ciencias Exatas e Tecnologicas
Graduated in Engineering and Food Technology, Federal University of Viçosa (1978), Master of Science and Food Technology, Federal University of Viçosa (1988) and Ph.D in Food Science – Michigan State University (1994). He is currently Titular Professor at the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, being responsible for the courses of Cheese Processing, since 1982. He has experience in the Science and Food Technology, with emphasis on dairy technology, working mainly in dairy products, with emphasis on cheese processing and projects and installation of dairy industries. He worked for 4 years as Director of International Affairs for Federal University of Viçosa, prioritizing the establishment of agreements and partnerships with several foreign universities. International experience includes participation in the Graduate Program at the University of Cordoba, in Monteria, Colombia, lecturing in a cheese technology course. In Cusco, Peru, he has participated as technical advisor in the area of cheeses. He has been in Algeers twice, working on establishing of cooperation agreements and lecturing cheese technology course in Institut Technique dês Elevagens (ITELV). He has participated in the last 30 years as a judge in the National Contest of Dairy Products, in Instituto de Laticínios Cândido Tostes (ILCT), Juiz de Fora – MG, Brazil, judging several types of cheeses marketed in the country and has promoted events such as Commented Tasting of Cheeses. Technical consultant in the area of cheeses for the national dairy industries, working in the development of new technologies and quality control of cheeses.
Eric Goan, MS, Mississippi State University
Eric Goan grew up on a dairy farm where they processed their own milk for resale. While working on his dairy farm, he became very interested in the dairy industry. After graduating high school, he pursued a college degree at the University of Tennessee, where he gained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Food Science Technology and Business and a Master’s of Science in Food Science with a chemistry concentration. Through college he worked on various dairy farms and in food processing plants. After college, he began working at the University of Tennessee as Plant Manager and Extension Specialist, with his area of expertise being dairy processing. While at University of Tennessee, he consulted with many dairy processing plants in the United States and Europe. His duties included performing quality analysis on dairy products, helping on plant design and layout, process budgeting, product logistics, also assisted coaching the collegiate dairy products judging team. He became the executive director of Tennessee Dairy Products Association, which includes 13 dairy manufacturing plants some of which are among the largest production facilities in the world. He is now at Mississippi State University where he is the General Manager of the Custer Dairy Processing Plant. The plant produces over 4,000,000 pounds of milk a year with products that include fluid milk (Chocolate, 2%, and Buttermilk), 11 different flavors of Ice Cream, Cheese (Cheddar, Edam, Vallegret, processed cheese, and cheese spreads), and butter.
Lisbeth Goddik, Ph.D., Oregon State University
Dr. Lisbeth Goddik is the dairy foods extension specialist at Oregon State University. In this position she teaches university courses, supervises applied research in dairy processing, and directs extension programs. She received her graduate degrees from Cornell University and Oregon State University. She has worked in the dairy industry in Denmark and in France.
Art Hill, Ph.D., University of Guelph
Arthur ‘Art’ Hill completed a BSc in Agriculture, specifically Dairy Science, and holds both a MSc and a PhD in Food Science at Guelph and joined the faculty at Guelph in 1986. Art was promoted to full professor in 2007, and appointed Department Chair of Food Science in 2009. Art’s research relates to dairy science and technology, especially cheese science and cheese safety. Art is the author or coauthor of 60 refereed papers with substantial contributions to the scholarship of teaching. Art has taught a variety of food related subjects including technical communication and has been heavily involved with undergraduate and graduate curriculum. In recent years Art has overseen the development of didactic and online courses that assist major food companies’ food safety training for managers and quality control personnel. A major current project is the development of the Guelph Food Innovation Centre.
Luis Jimenez-Maroto, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research
Luis is a Food Engineer from the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, where his work as an intern in the Dairy Processing Lab seeded his fascination for cheese. He followed this fascination to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Food Science working on the functionality and sensory profiles of Latin American cheeses. After that, he worked as a Sensory Scientist for PepsiCo International in Mexico, while at the same time being an Adjunct Lecturer at the Monterrey Institute of Technology, Queretaro Campus (Mexico) teaching the laboratories for the courses of Dairy Processing, and Unit Operations in the Food Industry. But the allure of cheese is hard to ignore, and Luis eventually found his way back to Wisconsin, where he worked for several years as the Sensory Coordinator for the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and the Food Science Department of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, managing both academic and industry-based research related to the organoleptic properties of cheese and other dairy products. In January 2015, Luis’s hunger for knowledge got the better of him, and he is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Food Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison under the tutelage of Dr. John Lucey. Luis has previously judged at both the WCMA World Championship Cheese Contest and the American Cheese Society Judging and Competition.
David Lockwood, Neal’s Yard Dairy
David Lockwood’s introduction to cheese came as manager of Zingerman’s Deli and in 1991 he moved to London to learn about maturing cheese. NYD selects and matures the finest British and Irish cheeses. David has worked in all areas of the business: maturing, purchasing, selling and in the office. Today, he continues eating a lot of cheese as the managing director and a partner at Neal’s Yard Dairy. He is on the advisory board for Oldways Cheese Coalition and a board member of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association. He also sits on the ACS Judging and Competition Committee.
Sarah Masoni, Food Innovation Center at OSU
Sarah Masoni is a Senior Faculty Research Assistant I and Food and Process Development Team Manager at the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center Experiment Station, where she has resided for the last 16 years. There, she works as a liaison between the university and the food manufacturing industry by managing staff, projects, and budgets at an innovative, leading-edge technology center. Sarah has specialized in food entrepreneurship, and she has worked on projects ranging from local and natural ice cream sandwiches , dairy products, beverages, seafood products, and many other specialty food items. Sarah Masoni has worked more than 25 years in the food industry in Quality Assurance, Manufacturing, and Product Development. While attending Oregon State University she trained under Floyd Bodyfelt and competed in the 1985 International Dairy Product’s Judging Competition in Atlanta, placing 1st in Butter and Ice Cream and 2nd in Cottage Cheese. Sarah was the number 3 judge over-all competing with 28 different Universities. Sarah worked in a cheese shop in the 1980’s that had over 200 cheeses, she also made semi-soft surface ripened cheeses while working at a small cheese factory in Tillamook Oregon. Sarah has also worked as a USDA inspector for the Cheese program. Sarah has been an executive board member for the Oregon Dairy Industries, and continues to participate in the ODI. Sarah Masoni traveled with her father and family through Europe in 1974 visiting farmstead cheese facilities and learning a great deal from her dad, Edmund A. Zottola, Professor Emeritus, U of MN, who started the Minnesota Farmstead Cheese Program in 1975. Sarah Masoni graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree.
Virgil Metzger, Ph.D., Retired, Kraft
Dr. Lloyd Metzger is a Professor and Alfred Chair in Dairy Education at South Dakota State University. He is the Director of the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center and the Institute for Dairy Ingredient Processing. He also serves as executive secretary of the North Central Cheese Industry Association. Metzger obtained his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Dairy Manufacturing from South Dakota State University and his doctorate in Food Science from Cornell University. Prior to joining South Dakota State University he was employed as a research scientist at General Mills and as an Assistant and Associative Professor in the Food Science and Nutrition department at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul.
Gina Mode, MBA, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research
Gina Mode’s love of the dairy industry began when she was raised on a fifth generation family dairy farm. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Food Science and a Master of Business Administration Degree in addition to Wisconsin Buttermaker and Cheesemaker Licenses. Gina became interested in cheese while completing an internship with the Center for Dairy Research. She worked in Quality Assurance at the Swiss Colony and the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant at the University of Wisconsin – Madison before returning to the CDR. As a member of the Cheese Industry and Applications Group at CDR, Gina 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 courses 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 national and international cheese contests.
Steve Murphy, MPS, Cornell University
Steve Murphy recently retired from Cornell University as a Sr. Extension Associate with the Department of Food Science, where he had been employed for over 36 years. Steve began his career as a laboratory technician, eventually joining the Dairy Foods Extension program in 1991 where he coordinated, developed and participated in extension based programs covering milk and dairy product testing, quality and safety. As of January 1, 2017, Steve took on the job as the Executive Director of the Dairy Practices Council (DPC) overseeing the workings of the organization under the guidance of the DPC Executive Board. DPC is a non-profit organization of education, industry and regulatory members concerned with milk quality, sanitation and regulatory uniformity. Steve is also an active member of the New York State Association for Food Protection (NYSAFP), the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments’ (NCIMS) HACCP Implementation Committee. Steve has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology (1979) and a Master’s Degree in Food Science (1997), both from Cornell University.
John Partridge, Ph.D., Michigan State University
John A. Partridge was born in Newport, VT in 1952. During high school and college he worked at Elmwood Dairy Inc., a small fluid milk operation owned by his extended family. In 1975, he earned his B.S. in Dairy Technology from the University of Vermont and returned to Newport, VT, as Assistant Manager of the family operation. In 1978, he returned to the University of Vermont as a research technician where he completed his M.S. in Dairy Technology in 1980. John then moved to East Lansing to study for his PhD, which was completed in 1983, at which time he joined the faculty of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. John is jointly appointed as Associate Professor in the Departments of FSHN and Animal Science at Michigan State University. He served as the Advisor to the MSU Dairy Foods Complex, which includes a modern dairy plant, the “Dairy Store” and teaching, research and extension laboratories. The MSU Dairy Plant manufactures ice cream and a variety of natural cheeses, including Cheddar, Dagano, Colby, and Gouda. John taught Unit Operations and Dairy Foods and was the Academic Advisor for 160 undergraduate students. As Extension Specialist, John worked with industry and regulatory leaders to provide training through the Michigan Dairy Education Partnership and direct consultation on many issues regarding milk and milk products including sensory evaluation. He has coached the MSU Dairy Products Evaluation team for 36 years and has been the Superintendent of the Michigan FFA Milk Quality Contest for 33 years. He is a co-instructor for the Annual MSU Artisanal Cheese Makers Short course and was the chief judge in the cheese and butter contest at the Michigan State Fair for 15 years. John officially retired from MSU on June 30, 2016, but continues to do some contract work in extension and teaching.
Robert Raylea, MS, Cornell University
Rob Ralyea, MS, RS is a Senior Extension Associate and the Food Processing and Development Laboratory Manager in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. He studied at Kansas State University (B.S., Animal Science & Industry) and Cornell University (M.S., Food Science in 1998). He is retired from the United States Army where his primary role was the safety and security of food and war reserve supplies and overall Department of Defense force health protection. He joined the Cornell faculty in 2004 and on the Dairy Foods Extension team and the Milk Quality Improvement Program. He is the resident cheese extension lead and provides innovative and practical information for the industry to wisely manage and improve the safety and quality of cheese and other dairy products in NYS. In this role, he works closely with New York State dairy industries and regulatory agencies to ensure production of wholesome, high quality dairy food products. He is also a judge for the New York State cheese competition. He is a member of the National Environmental Health Association, the New York State Association for Food Protection, the Finger Lakes Milk & Food Sanitarians and the American Cheese Society.
Russell Smith, Dairy Australia
For the past 20 years Russell Smith 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 cheesemaker who consults to cheesemakers in Australia and New Zealand. He continues his cheese education by making small trial batches of cheese with milk from a friend’s small jersey herd throughout the summer months. He has been judging dairy products in the major competitions in Australia since 1998. 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, and 2016 and the American Cheese Society Competition in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. 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.
Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Market
Cathy Strange joined Whole Foods Market in 1990 and has a wealth of food industry experience and expertise. As the global executive coordinator of specialty and product innovation and development, she has become an authority at detecting international food trends during her travels around the world. Having served as Whole Foods Market’s global cheese buyer for more than a decade, she’s one of the world’s leading authorities on all things cheese. She is a member of the American Cheese Society, the Cheese of Choice Coalition, the Cheese Importers Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Slow Foods USA, and Les Dames d’Escoffier. Her palette and expertise have been solicited all over the world to serve as judge for the American Cheese Society competition, the World Cheese Championships, the U.S. Cheese Championships, the World Cheese Awards and the British Cheese Awards. She serves as New World President and an ambassador for the distinguished international Guilde des Fromagers de Saint-Uguzon, the most celebrated association of cheese mongers and specialists in France. Cathy has also been awarded the French Order of Agricultural Merit and is the only American and non-Italian to ever receive the “Coltellino d’oro” from the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano. In 2015, she was honored by the American Cheese Society with the Lifetime Service Award.
Joy Ascher, ACS CCP®, Gourmet Foods International
Joy Ascher is part of the 2013 class of Certified Cheese Professionals. She works as an Account Manager with Gourmet Foods International. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Anthropology and worked in Cultural Resource Management prior to her career in the culinary industry. She has served as a volunteer with ACS for the Great American Beer Festival and the Festival of Cheese. She lives in Colorado with her fiancé Gabriel Salazar, also a CCP, and their 15-year-old Miniature Pinscher, Rocky. When she is not slinging cheese she is most likely cooking, gardening, or visiting local breweries.
Steve Duty, Cheese & Provisions
Steve Duty has spent his entire working life in the food and beverage industry. He has degrees from the Culinary Institute of America, the University of Houston’s Conrad Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, and a MBA from Johnson and Wales University. He’s been an award-winning wine maker and owned and operated True Ewe Farms, a sheep farm, dairy, and creamery in the Virginia Blue Ridge foothills. Steve also possesses extensive retail experience. He’s run the specialty departments of several Whole Foods and has worked as a cheesemonger in several of Denver’s existing cheese shops. He now owns and operates the award-winning Denver cheese shop, Cheese+Provisions, where you’ll find him talking to anyone from farmers, to distributors, to cheese enthusiasts of all levels about cheese, food, and artisan products in general.
Gordon Edgar, Rainbow Grocery Store
Gordon Edgar loves cheese and worker-owned co-ops, and has been combining both of these infatuations as the cheese buyer for San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery Cooperative since 1994. Edgar has been a judge at numerous national cheese competitions, a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild, and has had a blog since 2002, which can be found at www.gordonzola.net. His latest book, Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese investigates America’s relationship with cheddar, why we love it, and the effect that cheese has had on the American food system. Edgar’s cheese memoir, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge was published in 2010.
Janet Fletcher, Planet Cheese
Janet Fletcher is the author or co-author of more than two dozen books on food and beverage, including Cheese & Wine, Cheese & Beer, The Cheese Course and Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Janet publishes the weekly Planet Cheese blog, writes the cheese column for Specialty Food magazine and The Somm Journal and teaches cooking and cheese-appreciation classes around the country. She is the recipient of three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award for her journalism. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and numerous national magazines, including Culture, Saveur and Food & Wine. (www.janetfletcher.com)
Dick Groves, Cheese Reporter
Dick Groves joined the Cheese Reporter part-time in 1978, then started working full-time at the paper in 1980, after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in agricultural journalism. Groves was promoted to editor of the Cheese Reporter in 1985, then acquired the paper from its previous owner in 1989. In addition to owning the Cheese Reporter for more than 27 years and serving as its editor for over 32 years, Groves has also served on the board of directors of the American Cheese Society and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.
Stacey Johnson, Hy-Vee
Stacey Johnson has worked for Hy-Vee since 1995. She has tested the Program Cheese Mastery with Hy-Vee and most of all, enjoys working with all the great people within the cheese industry. Meeting people who are in this business because they love what they do shows in the conversations you have with them and it truly brings you closer to those products you know they produce. She also enjoyed her time overseas trying cheese in the freshest element available in those countries. There is so much more to cheese then a bite. Each cheese has a story to tell and an experience to taste.
Steve Jones, Cheese Bar
Steve Jones is a cheesemonger, educator, and cheese ambassador. Steve opened several cheese counters in the Midwest before launching his own retail business, Steve’s Cheese, in Portland. This transitioned to Cheese Bar, a retail cheese counter and casual restaurant that offers a rotating menu built with artisan and farmstead products. In 2015, Steve further explored food and beverage pairing when he opened Chizu, a cheese bar influenced by the aesthetics and approach of a sushi bar, and Cheese Annex, located inside The Commons Brewery. Steve’s experience includes wholesaling, brokering, affinage and marketing with Neal’s Yard Dairy, and teaching for the Cheese School of San Francisco and Food by Hand. He is a founding member of the Portland Beer and Cheese Festival, the Portland Firkin Fest, and Portland’s The Wedge Festival. He has served multiple times as a judge for the American Cheese Society’s (ACS) annual competition, the Good Food Awards, Oregon’s Double EE beer and cheese competition, and the American Dairy Goat Association. He has served as a panel member and presenter on many occasions for the ACS annual conference, the Oregon Cheese Guild, International Association of Culinary Professionals, World Food Travel Association’s Foodworx conference, Bon Appetit’s Feast Portland, Oregon Pinot Camp, International Pinot Noir Celebration, Foods of Oregon Symposium, and Slow Food Portland, and other events.
Lance Lynn, ACS CCP®, Scardello
Lance Lynn knew he’d found his calling when he discovered an industry that combined art, science and history, in a package you could eat. Since 2008, Lance Lynn has led the team as manager and lead cheesemonger at Scardello Artisan Cheese in Dallas, Texas. Lance has played an instrumental role in making Scardello a mainstay of the Dallas food scene, and has committed himself to bringing the best cheeses in the world to his community. Lance has attended ACS conference yearly since 2010, received the John Crompton Memorial Scholarship in 2011, and obtained his CCP in 2013. He is an active volunteer with the Judging and Competition committee, serving as both steward and cooler captain. His favorite part of ACS is meeting the new faces that show up every year and welcoming more people into the cheese family.
Patrick Moore, The Cheese Guy, LLC
Patrick grew up in Bloomington, MN. His earliest memories of cheese revolve around a blue box with macaroni, a green can of Parmesan, and the invention of “individually wrapped” slices of American cheese. In the mid 90’s he took a job at the meat and cheese counter in the basement of the flagship Dayton’s in downtown Minneapolis where he realized that there was more to learn than “cheddar was yellow, Swiss had holes and the stuff in blue cheese was mold.” In 1997 he was asked to build specialty cheese counters for an upscale grocer with multiple locations in town and soon became the first cheesemonger within a grocery store in the Twin Cities. “The Cheese Guy” was formed in 2004 and he began consulting to restaurants and chefs, as well as performing in-home classes and tastings (the ones about local cheese always sell out first!). In 2008 he was asked to be an Aesthetic Judge for the 25th Anniversary ACS Conference in Chicago and has volunteered every year since… Except one (when his twins were born in 2012)…Today, Patrick is a passionate guide to most of the world’s cheeses. For almost twenty years he has concentrated on learning all about the cheese world and sharing that knowledge with his clients. He and his wife Ilene, love to search for new cheeses to share with the one of their 3 1/2 yr old twins who will eat it (the other thinks it’s made from the fires of hell), collecting old cheese memorabilia and eating at as many small restaurants as possible.
Janee’ Muha, ACS CCP®, Mobile Monger
As with most things in her life, Janee Muha’s love of cheese came by accident. A right place, right job kind of moment that propelled her for 14 years. Last year, she took a giant leap from behind the counter and is now sharing her love for all things curd with anyone that will take the time to listen. You can find her at TheMobileMonger.com where you can follow her travels and many thoughts on the cheese around her.
Kelsie Parsons, ACS CCP®, Sobeys
Kelsie trains cheesemongers at Sobeys stores across Canada and is responsible for the national strategic planning of the deli department. Kelsie is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ and an experienced cheesemonger who has worked at farmers’ markets, specialty shops, and grocery stores in Southern Ontario. Kelsie earned his Cheesemaking Certificate from the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese and worked as an apprentice cheesemaker producing sheep and goat milk cheese. He represented the Toronto Slow Food convivium at Terra Madre in Italy, and his photos of Canadian cheese are featured throughout Juliett Harbutt’s World Book of Cheese. In the summer of 2012, Kelsie drove across Canada and visited over 120 cheese factories as research for a book he is writing. In addition to cheese, Kelsie also loves ice cream, roller skating, and craft beer.
Patty Peterson, Larry’s Market
Patty Ehlers Peterson grew up in the specialty food business. Her father, Larry, purchased what was a corner store that delivered groceries to Milwaukee’s elite in 1970, and within a year started bringing specialty foods to Wisconsin. Larry’s Market was the first to sell Brie, Perrier, and Croissants in the state of Wisconsin. Over the years Larry’s has evolved from focusing on imported products to local, handmade products specializing in Wisconsin artisan and farmstead cheeses. Today Larry’s Market has a retail store, a cut-to-order cheese counter, a deli, small cafe, catering division, and a gift department with 25 full and part time employees. After college, and a brief stint in design, the urge to return to the store was too great and she has been working there full-time ever since. In the past several years Patty has been committed to championing American cheeses and in particular, Wisconsin cheeses. She enjoys working with local cheesemakers, and along with her brother Steve, has helped many new cheese makers get their product to market. A dedicated member of ACS since 2003 she has attended every conference and has co-chaired six Festivals of Cheese. Patty is honored to be asked to judge again at this year’s competition.
Mary Quicke, Quicke’s Cheese
Mary Quicke runs Quickes Traditional Ltd, a £3.5m turnover integrated cheesemaking and farming (cows and crops) business. She is the 14th generation on the farm and has run the business since 1987. Quicke’s Traditional Cheese is the largest British naturally matured traditional cheddar maker. Cheese has been made on the farm during the family’s 470 year history. The 1500 acre farm has 500 cows grazing outside for 10-11 months, grows crops to feed the cows, to sell, and to support wildlife in extensive environmental schemes. It has a farmshop selling cheese and superb foods locally foraged. The business employs 34 people in Newton St Cyres, Exeter, Devon, England. Mary speaks widely on farming and cheese and in November 2015 addressed the British Mastitis Conference on the characteristics of milk required to make world class cheese, and at the Grasslands in Profile Conference on the soil structure issues of mob grazing. She is active in promoting the requirement for scientifically knowledgeable, technically capable, practically engaged people to support the very applied sciences of farming and cheesemaking. She writes a monthly blog, Mary’s Dairy Diary, available of her website www.quickes.co.uk, and also is an award-winning columnist for Devon Life www.devonlife.co.uk.
Louis Risoli, ACS CCP®, L’Espalier
Louis Risoli, an ACS CCP, has been the Maitre d’ and Fromager at L’Espalier, a fine dining restaurant in Boston, for over 30 years. His cheese program, featuring a trolley with up to thirty selections, is international in scope but focuses on Northeastern small production cheesemakers, and has been featured in countless local and national publications. He is the host of Cheese Tuesday, a popular monthly themed dinner that focuses on cheese and wine pairings and culminates with a grand cheese tasting and a sing-along: one of Risoli’s hobbies is writing satirical and funny cheese songs. An educator at heart, Louis has trained hundreds of team members in the intricacies of composing and serving cheese plates. He has been a yearly seminar leader at the Nantucket Wine Festival and was a presenter at the ACS Burlington conference, as well as an inaugural member of the Body of Knowledge Committee and a CCP question writer, and was a judge at the 2016 World Cheese Competition. Louis is also an accomplished painter who exhibits his abstractions at Boston’s Gallery NAGA and is represented in many museums as well as private and corporate collections. A native New Englander, he is a nature enthusiast, gardener, and birder. He lives outside Boston with his husband, a retired Wellesley College professor and classical pianist.
Lassa Skinner, Culture
Thalassa (Lassa) Skinner transferred her passion for archaeology to cheese, starting first in Boston then moving to Northern California and Australia. She opened and ran the Oxbow Cheese Merchant in Napa, California. In 2008, she co-founded Culture Magazine. Lassa strives to build and support the global cheese community by sharing information and providing educational opportunities to foster learning and development.
Carlos Souffront, Tony’s Fine Foods
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 his role 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, and onto his current role as a cheese specialist & wholesaler for Tony’s Fine Foods Carlos’ enthusiasm and connoisseurship for cheese has made him one of the retail industry’s most knowledgeable and experienced mongers. His visits with many of his favorite producers on buying trips and his strong relationships with cheese makers, maturers and retailers have helped to refine his discerning palate. This is Carlos Souffront’s 4th time judging at the ACS competition, in an official capacity anyways!
Richard Sutton, St. James Cheese Shop
Richard Sutton’s interest in cheese began as a child when he first visited Europe with his parents. However, on the way to becoming New Orleans’ premier cheesemonger, he was waylaid into banking, a career which inspired no passion whatsoever. On a whim, and with a fresh visa in hand, Richard and his wife Danielle moved to London in 2002 to see what adventures would find them. What found them was Paxton & Whitfield, the 200-plus-year-old cheese shop in the St. James neighborhood, and supplier of cheese to the royal household. And so began Richard’s transition from bored banker to passionate cheesemonger. Living in London and working at Paxton’s allowed Richard access to the great cheesemakers and affineurs of Europe and a wealth of knowledge and training about cheese. In 2006, Richard and Danielle decided to move back to the US and open their own cheese business. Having met in New Orleans while in college and having enormous fondness for the city, they decided that this was where they would open the St. James Cheese Company. Despite the challenges of opening a business in post-Katrina New Orleans, St. James Cheese has been welcomed with open arms by the city and has grown a loyal and steady following in the nine years since opening.
Juliana Uruburu, The Pasta Shop
Juliana Uruburu has passionately pursued a life of cheese. For the last thirty years, she has managed cheese stores for the award-winning specialty food retailer Market Hall Foods in Northern California. In addition to managing, staffing, buying, and merchandising for the cheese counters, Juliana produces and directs the sustainable food education promotions and is the retail general manager for Market Hall Foods. Juliana merges her food experience with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Architecture to create dynamic displays and design merchandising plans, as well as consulting with local restaurateurs and food retailers on interior design. Juliana is in high demand at local cooking schools, including San Francisco Cooking School and the Cheese School of San Francisco. Juliana is a creator and founding member of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. A frequent panelist and cheese judge at the annual American Cheese Society Conference, Juliana is also Lead Judge for the California State Fair Cheese Competition and she was one of the cheese judges for the inaugural Good Food Awards. Juliana has received international recognition for her lifetime devoted to cheese. She is one of only a handful of Americans to be inducted into two of the most exclusive French cheese societies — the preeminent Guilde des Fromages de St. Uguzon (2007) and the prestigious Chevalier du Taste Fromage (2010).
Casie Wiginton, ACS CCP®, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
Casie Wiginton pursued a career in Anthropology and Archaeology before discovering the delicious, delicious world of cheese. After college, family brought her back to Dallas but the love of her new career in wine and cheese made her stay. She accepted a position as a beer and wine buyer for a local high end grocery store which eventually lead her to managing a boutique cheese shop in Highland Park. This experience propelled her to a 4 year tenure managing the Specialty department with Whole Foods Market at four stores in three different cities. With Whole Foods Market she attended her first ACS conference and tested with the very first class of Certified Cheese Professionals. Eventually the want to marry her love of cheese and love of restaurants brought her back to Austin, taking over and with the efforts of her team, doubling the wholesale program at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. With Antonelli’s she attended her second ACS and recertified as a CCP.