Instructor Bios

Waldemar Albrecht

Waldemar Albrecht studied law and business administration in his native Venezuela. Afterimmigrating to the US to follow his passion for gastronomy and culinaria, he received training in cheese from industry leaders like Debra Dickerson, Janet Tarlov, Daphne Zepos, and Juliana Uruburu. Managing the cheese counter at the acclaimed Pasta Shop from 1998 through 2002. In May 2003, Waldemar moved to New York City to become a full time Maitre Fromager at Artisanal restaurant, as well as member of the faculty at Artisanal Premium Cheese, nurturing his education through his mentor and friend Max McCalman. Currently, Waldemar works as a spokesperson for Lactalis-USA, conducts food tours with friend and partner Clarisa Penzini, and is the cheese buyer for the Battery Place Markets in Manhattan.


Kristi Bachman

Kristi Bachman (Program Director & Cheese Buyer) discovered her passion for high-quality, sustainable food when shemoved to San Francisco in 2005 to attend university. Her passion for cheese and degree in Business Marketing from San Francisco State University found perfect coalescence at The Cheese School. Kristi's role has blossomed from class and office assistant to cheese buyer and program director. When she's not creating beautiful cheese plates, she enjoys visiting farmers markets, meeting the people behind the cheese, and drinking vast amounts of kombucha.


Zoe Brickley

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 coordinates sales and marketing for Cellars at Jasper Hill - an affinage facility dedicated to preserving the working landscape in northern Vermont through farmstead cheese production.


Judy Creighton

Judy Creighton is a cheese educator and former owner of a cheese and wine shop in San Francisco for over 25 years, as well as a consultant for retailers, distributors and importers. She serves as a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild and has had the honor of judging for American Cheese Society competitions. Recently, Judy was also a judge for the California State Fair cheese competition. She is a guest lecturer at City College of San Francisco Hotel & Restaurant Program and presents cheese and wine seminars for wineries and non-profit events. In addition to consulting for the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance, she also holds the position of cheese buyer at Lavender Ridge Cheese Market in Murphys, CA.


Sasha Davies

Sasha Davies is a cheesemonger in Portland, Oregon, and serves on the board of the American Cheese Society. Davies started her cheese career in New York City as an apprentice affineur in the cheese caves of Artisanal Premium Cheese, going on to manage the caves at the venerable Murray's Cheese and work as a resident cheese expert for Marlow & Sons. Her interest in cheese led her to embark on a four-month tour of forty American artisan cheesemakers, a project documented at cheesebyhand.com. Davies has taught classes at the French Culinary Institute and The Cheese School of San Francisco. Her food writing has appeared on thestrongbuzz.com, in the Diner Journal, and in the cheese-focused magazine Culture


Lynne Devereux

Lynne Devereux brings a background rich in culinary expertise and food education, developing engaging educational programs for both professional and consumer audiences. She is a specialist in California artisan cheeses and enthusiastic supporter of the American artisan cheese industry. Since 2007, Lynne has directed the enormously successful California Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma, California. She was the founding president of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. Her company, Butter Communications, represents artisan cheese producers and specialty food makers in marketing and PR programs.


Peter Dixon

Peter Dixon is a dairy foods consultant and cheesemaker from Westminster, Vermont. Peter has a great deal of experience establishing small-scale cheesemaking facilities and developing recipes and techniques. Peter has been around farms all his life. In the 1980s he made soft-ripened type cheeses in his family’s Guilford Cheese Company after training with traditional French cheesemakers. He has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Animal and Food Sciences from the University of Vermont where he did his thesis on “The Effect of Seasonal Milk Production on Farmstead Cheddar Cheese Composition and Quality.” He has worked for several years as a cheesemaker at Shelburne Farms and Vermont Butter and Cheese Company. Since 1997, he has worked in agricultural development projects in Macedonia, Albania, and Armenia and has travelled in the US and Canada to teach workshops and consult for artisan cheesemakers. Currently, he acts as a consultant to Consider Bardwell Farm and other clients.


Rachel Dutton

Rachel Dutton is a Bauer fellow at the Harvard FAS Center for Systems Biology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After receiving her PhD in Microbiology from Harvard, she started her own lab focused on cheese microbiology. Her lab studies the microbial communities that make up the rind of cheese, with the goal of understanding the biodiversity of cheese communities, the interactions between cheese microbes, and on developing experimental model ecosystems. Research from the Dutton lab has been featured in Culture Magazine and the Boston Globe.


Gordon Edgar

Gordon Edgar loves cheese and worker-owned co-ops, 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 has had a blog since 2002, which can be found at www.gordonzola.net. His critically acclaimed cheese memoir, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge, was published in early 2010 by Chelsea Green.


Dr. Larry and Linda Faillace

Dr. Larry and Linda Faillace, are passionate cheeseophiles and food enthusiasts from Three Shepherds Farm, located in the heart of Vermont's beautiful Green Mountains. Over the past seventeen years, they have taught the art and science of cheesemaking to more than 2,000 students from around the world including American Cheese Society award winners. Linda and Larry’s cheesemaking adventures have taken them around the United States, and they were the first to teach traditional artisan cheesemaking techniques in Bermuda and Belize.


Nicole Erny

Nicole Erny, Master Cicerone© and Certified Cicerone® West Region Exam Manager What started as a fun time amateur beer-judging on the weekends led Nicole down the debaucherous path of working in the beer industry full time. Nicole is on the content team of the Cicerone Certification Program, and conducts beer pairing and consumer education events. She spent three years behind the bar at The Trappist in Oakland, CA, is a National-level BJCP judge and loves connecting people with great beer. She frequently appears as a guest on the Brewing Network radio shows.


Jon Fancey

Jon Fancey is the cheese buyer at Cheese Plus, one of San Francisco's finest independent specialty food retailers. After studying history & religion at The College of Wooster, Jon began to work professionally with food in 2002 and now enjoys curating a truly unique selection of artisan products from America and Europe. He hopes his collection expands cheese seekers palates while highlighting the connections between agriculture and fine foods. When not behind his cheese counter, Jon takes time to savor his other food favorites while meandering around San Francisco...coffee, bread, and ice cream.


Kiri Fisher

Kiri Fisher (Owner) is a dedicated entrepreneur who found her heart in artisan cheese. She has worked for The Pasta Shop, Raymond & Co Cheesemongers, Tumalo Farms, the California Milk Advisory Board, and has interned with Monteillet Fromagerie. Previously, she's managed educational programming for California's Artisan Cheese Festival and was a board member of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. In 2011, Kiri purchased The Cheese School with Daphne Zepos. When she's not at The Cheese School most often she can be found eating cheese or feeding it to friends and family.


Janet Fletcher

Janet Fletcher is the author of Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing, and Enjoying and The Cheese Course (both by Chronicle Books. She writes a weekly cheese column for the San Francisco Chronicle and is a former staff writer whose journalism earned three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award. Janet also writes the Cheese Focus column for Specialty Food, a trade publication, and is the author of The Cheese Plate, an iPhone app. Her writing on wine and food has appeared in numerous national magazines, including Saveur, Bon Appétit, Fine Cooking and Food & Wine. Janet trained at the Culinary Institute of America and at Berkeley's celebrated Chez Panisse restaurant. Her most recent book, My Calabria, a collaboration with Rosetta Constantino, was published in November 2010.


Chris George

Chris George grew up in the North East of England and didn't discover the joys of real cheese until his mid twenties whilst working part-time at Neal's Yard Dairy to help fund his post graduate studies. His academic career very quickly took second place to the delicious array of cheeses he was selling and eating. Chris has worked full-time for Neal's Yard since the Summer of 1996. His roles have included retail, cheese maturation, wholesale, export and, more recently, establishing the tastings program for Neal's Yard Dairy, running public tastings and providing training within the food industry. Chris has also worked in TV and radio, ran classes at major food festivals and shows throughout the UK and judged at the British Cheese Awards, World Cheese Awards and at The Great Yorkshire Show.


Colette Hatch

Colette Hatch, a core instructor at The Cheese School, is an internationally known authority on food and wine whose career spans more than three decades and covers all aspects of food and wine marketing and management. After earning a degree in Hospitality Management from the Lycee d'Etat Poligny in Jura, France, Colette managed several fine hotels in France, England and Corsica and later completed a presitigious apprenticeship at the Michelin three-star restaurant Jeunet. Upon moving to the US, Colette combined her front-of-house management experience with her food and wine expertise as sommelier and service consultant at Restaurant du Village, a four-star restaurant in Chester, CT. She also founded and managed the catering operation at Au Musee restaurant, part of the Wadsworth Athaneum in Hartford. Since moving to the emerging culinary mecca of Sonoma County, Colette has established a consulting practice serving specialty food retailers, wineries and restaurants throughout the Bay Area.


John Herbstritt

John Herbstritt began his culinary education as a student abroad in Paris hosting weekly wine and cheese parties. When he returned he couldn’t leave his newfound passion behind. Starting professionally first at Vintage Berkeley in the East Bay and then graduating to wine buyer at Cheese Plus in the city, he is now the face of the wine department at Bi-Rite’s Divisadero location as the resident wine specialist. There you can find him living in the wine aisle but returning wistfully to the cheese counter to help guests create delicious impromptu pairings.


Louella Hill

Louella Hill's passion for cheesemaking started on a sheep farm in Tuscany where she spent each day milking sheep, haying fields and making Pecorino. Since then, she has apprenticed with small-scale cheesemakers in Europe, Mexico and throughout New England. She is the co-founder of Rhode Island's Narragansett Creamery and know locally as The San Francisco Milk Maid. Her favorite part of cheesemaking is the soft, sweet smell of a milk vat. Like baby's breath.


Sara Hill

Sara Hill is a 30 year veteran of the Specialty Cheese Industry working in distribution including: retail education, case sets and merchandizing, buying entire cheese categories including domestic and imported cheeses, sales manager and foodservice division Manager positions. She is a graduate of "The Culinary Institute of America", Hyde Park, NY, the Culinary Manager of Cheese Education, and on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.


Kirstin Jackson

Kirstin Jackson is the author of "It's Not You, It's Brie: A Guide to Unwrapping American Cheese Culture," and has written about cheese and wine for publications like the LA Times, NPR, and Kinfolk. When not writing, she manages a wine bar, teaches, consults, travels, and writes about cheese for her blog, itsnotyouitsbrie.com. She blames her parents, who took her on monthly trips to California creameries as a child, for inspiring her obsession with cheese.


Steven Jones

Steve Jones is the founder and owner of Cheese Bar, a retail cheese counter and casual restaurant that offers a rotating menu built with artisan and farmstead products. His cheese adventures include directing the cheese department for Provvista Specialty Foods Inc., one of the nation’s most admired wholesale purveyors of fine cheeses and specialty products and interning in affinage and marketing with Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. He is a founding member of The Wedge, the biannual Portland cheese festival, and in 2009 was half of the winning team in the American Cheese Society's (ACS) first annual Cheese Mongering competition. Steve has served as a judge for the ACS annual competitions and as a panelist and presenter for ACS and other organizations on numerous occasions. In 2011, Steve competed with 40 cheesemongers from around the world to win the 2nd Annual Cheesemonger Invitational in Long Island, New York. As a repeat instructor with the Food by Hand’s The Craft and Business of Retailing Artisan Cheese seminar, Steve has shared his enthusiasm for cheese and retail expertise with aspiring cheese mongers. Cheese Bar allows Steve to share his love of beer and his pursuit of interesting cheese and beer/wine pairings.


Michael Kalish

Michael Kalish is an expert on artisan and farmstead cheesemaking. Fluent in French and Italian, he trained as a cheesemaker in France, Switzerland and Italy and managed operations for renowned French affineur Hervé Mons' Tunnel de la Collonge. He has taught Master Classes on affinage while serving as operations manager for Artisanal Premium Cheese in New York City, is a member of the California Artisan Cheese Guild and a writer for the ACS Cheese Professional Certification Exam. Michael received his BA in liberal arts from UC Santa Barbara and holds certificates in cheese and salumi production from l’Istitutolattiero caseario e delle tecnologie agroalimentari in the Piemonte, Italy.


Mary Karlin

Mary Karlin is a passionate cook, cooking teacher, freelance food writer, and cookbook author. She was a founding staff member and is currently a visiting chef- instructor at the award-winning Ramekins Culinary School in Sonoma, CA, where she has taught wood-fired cooking, cheesemaking, and Mediterranean-themed cooking classes for over ten years. Mary is also a chef-instructor at Relish Culinary Center in Healdsburg, CA, and Great News! Cooking School in San Diego, CA, as well as a guest instructor at other prominent culinary venues around the United States. Marys acclaimed first book, Wood-Fired Cooking, was published by Ten Speed Press in spring 2009. Her much anticipated second book, Artisan Cheese Making at Home, will be released August 23, 2011. Mary is available for special events, teaching dates, interviews, and book signings. Visit www.elementsoftaste.com, and www.artisancheesemakingathome.com for a schedule of her classes and events.


Marshka Kiera

Marshka Kiera is a Polish-born, Australian-raised, San Francisco-dwelling nomad. The earliest signs of cheese-making have recently been discovered in clay pots in Poland so perhaps the love of the curd runs in her veins.  She's been a Good Food Awards judge for both cheese and charcuterie and is a senior cheesemonger at San Francisco’s Mission Cheese, slinging America’s finest curds. Each year she also runs the annual Butcher’s Guild Conference - the national gathering of artisanal butchers.  In 2013 Marshka founded Curds and Cuts, as another avenue to spread the ‘good cheese & meat’ message throughout the Bay Area.


Sacha Laurin

Sacha Laurin is Assistant Cheesemaker for Winters Cheese and has an absolute passion for artisan cheesemaking after living and working closely with goat cheese artisans in the Brie area of France for 15 years. Native to Australia, Davis is now her home and she teaches artisan cheesemaking classes in the Sacramento area and studies the science of cheesemaking and affinage at every opportunity, from Cal Poly to the University of Vermont programs to UCDavis certificate courses to applying her experience and love for cheese in the daily work at the Winters cheese cave. Sacha loves to make, eat, breathe, teach and learn about all things cheese, and is passionate about increasing community and industry awareness and education, and helping support every aspect of the Californian artisan cheese community and industry.


Emiliano Lee

Cheesemonger and Oakland native Emiliano Lee is the Specialty Buyer, Forager, and Educator for Farmshop (Marin & Santa Monica). He has built a unique domestic cheese & specialty food program at Farmshop's Artisan Market, further showcasing those products in their restaurant's cheese programs. He has judged cheese for the American Cheese Society annually since 2009,has judged the SOFI Awards & Good Food Awards, has been a panelist and moderator at ACS and the Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference, and is a member of Culture Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Panel.


Eric Miller

Eric Miller is director of the in-house charcuterie program, cheesemonger, and manager at Mission Cheese. After escaping his former cubicle life, he is now creating traditional charcuterie items with an American flair, along with pickles, and dessert items. A native New Yorker, Eric has spent numerous hours helping educate the masses about the art of meats and cheeses at the legendary Murray’s Cheese. Now an enthusiastic transplant to the west coast, he is excited about bringing his New York know-how to San Francisco’s fresh food scene.


Karletta Moniz

Karletta Moniz is a San Francisco-based food journalist, consultant and chef. Recent projects include new product development work for the Center for Culinary Development San Francisco. Her fascination with all things cacao led her to create the Art of Tasting Chocolate class featured on Daily Candy. As a returning guest on ABC-TVs View from the Bay, she has demonstrated not only how to taste chocolate but also has shared chocolate-related recipes on-screen. Her clients include CocoAroma Magazine, Leites Culinaria, The Tablehopper, and more. She can be heard on her podcast site, www.KarlettaMoniz.com, where she shares her irreverent and unique perspective of the culinary scene, especially related to chocolate. She also acts as a judge for culinary literary competitions for the James Beard Awards and for Scholarship Awards for The Symposium for Professional Food Writers at The Greenbrier.


Lenny Rice Moonsammy

Lenny Rice Moonsammy grew up in Hugo, Oklahoma, a teeny town near the Texas border. Inspired by her mom Dixie's mouthwatering pot roast and chicken fried steak, Lenny dabbled in cooking at an early age. Though she pursued a degree in business at University of Oklahoma, Lenny was always happiest when hosting dinner parties and cooking for friends. She left Oklahoma for Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, where she was introduced to a career in the food business and her future husband, NECI classmate Chris Moonsammy. Her desire to work with the best food, wine and chefs in the country drove Lenny to the Napa Valley, where she worked for Robert Mondavi Winery and Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts before landing a job at the Cowgirl Creamery and now Bellwether Farms in Sonoma County. Lenny's extreme cheese knowledge led her to persuade foodie friend Brigid Callinan to co-author a fondue cookbook with her. Lenny lives in Petaluma with her husband and their furry friends, Bennett the Corgi, Piper the Aussie Shepherd and Sammy the cat.


Chris Munsey

Chris Munsey is an all-round fermentation aficionado whose main two passions, beer and cheese have compelled him to travel the globe in search of the best examples of both. When he is not globetrotting, Chris is working hard to educate Californians on the pleasures of Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery products as their West Coast Sales Director. A Certified Cicerone (fancy title for beer geek) and veteran of six years at Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City, Chris is always excited to turn people on to the wonders of beer and cheese from both a historical/economical and gastronomic standpoint. Wine and cured meats are okay in his book too.


Rich Rogers

Rich Rogers, proprietor/cheesemonger of Scardello Artisan Cheese, discovered his passion for food at an early age in his hometown of Dalhart, Texas. Rogers has parlayed this love into a family business with Scardello Artisan Cheese, which opened in October 2008 in Dallas’ Oak Lawn/Turtle Creek neighborhood. The shop is named after Rogers’ grandfather, Peter Scardello, who taught him the love of cooking and sharing wonderful food with friends and family. Scardello was named “Best Adult Education” by D Magazine in 2009 for its Cheese 101 class, “Best of the City” by Modern Luxury Dallas in 2010, “Best Cheese Shop” by D magazine in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and “Best Cheese Shop Not to Fall Asleep In” by the Dallas Observer in 2012. Rogers was also named “Best Cheesemonger” by the Dallas Observer in 2011. Rogers is a member of the American Cheese Society and an ACS Certified Cheese Professional.


Anne Saxelby

Anne Saxelby is the founder of Saxelby Cheesemongers, a cheese shop in Manhattan selling only American artisan cheeses. Saxelby Cheesemongers opened their flagship store in the Essex Street Market in 2006, and recently built a cheese cave in Brooklyn to store and age cheeses, and run the wholesale side of the business. Anne got her start in the cheese world working at Murrays Cheese in Greenwich Village, and fell in love with American farmstead cheese after interning as a cheese maker at Cato Corner Farm. Before opening Saxelby Cheesemongers, Anne spent a year traveling abroad to learn cheese making with producers in the Loire Valley and affinage from master affineur Hervé Mons. In addition to the retail shop, Anne records a weekly internet radio show called Cutting the Curd on the Heritage Radio Nework (heritageradionetwork.com), where she hopes to promote artisan cheese making and create a useful audio archive for cheese makers and cheese lovers.


Lassa Skinner

Lassa Skinner fell into cheese in the early '80s and almost didn't complete college because of it. She worked at a start-up gourmet market in Brookline, MA and, by chance, was put in the cheese shop alongside a woman who had made cheese in the Loire. Raw milk, aged goat cheese! Love at first bite. She later worked at Formaggio Kitchen then moved west, landed in the Napa Valley, and started up a cheese program at Tra Vigne restaurant (St. Helena). She is currently the General Manager of the Oxbow Cheese Merchant in downtown Napa, co-founder of culture: the word on cheese and co-author of Cheese For Dummies (May 2012).


Naomi Smith

Naomi Smith grew up in the Willamette Valley and naturally learned to love food and wine. Working at South Park, an influential restaurant in Portland is where Naomi discovered that she was most interested in the wine program and she moved to Seattle to work for Noble Wines, an indie distributor that supplies wine to such Pacific Northwest institutions as Tom Douglas restaurants, the Space Needle, The Four Seasons, The Fairmont, and DeLaurentis. It was during this time that Naomis love for cheese sparked the collaboration with DeLaurenti to create the Seattle Cheese Festival, an event that brings in more than 100,000 people to Pike Place Market every year. With the success of the Cheese Festival, Naomi brought that experience to building the Artisan Food Festival, an event that focuses on Pacific Northwest producers. Eventually, Naomi left Seattle for San Francisco and Maisons Marques & Domaines, the prestigious wine importer that brings Louis Roederer Champagnes to the United States.


Anthea Stolz

Anthea Stolz started working with cheese at Zingermans Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, MI, after graduating from college. What she thought was going to be a summer job turned into three years of eye-opening learning and tasting before moving to San Francisco. She began her West Coast cheese education behind the cheeses counter at The Pasta Shop in Oakland, CA. She is currently the cheese buyer at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco and teaches cheese classes at 18 Reasons.


Juliana Uruburu

Juliana Uruburu directs the cheese selection, merchandising, education, and promotions for the Bay Area's renowned Pasta Shop. Working with cheese for over 20 years, she is a frequent panelist and cheese judge at industry conferences including the American Cheese Society and is the head cheese judge for the California State Expo. Recognized as an individual dedicated to promoting quality cheese and consumption, Juliana was recently inducted into the Guilde des Fromagers, dedicating her lifes work to promoting the consumption of cheese.


Laura Werlin

Laura Werlin is positively passionate about cheese and has written four highly acclaimed books on the subject: Cheese Essentials (Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2007), The All American Cheese and Wine Book (Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2003), Great Grilled Cheese: 50 Innovative Recipes for Stovetop, Sandwich Maker, and Grill (Stewart, Tabori and Chang 2004), and the pioneering The New American Cheese (Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2000), Her passion and expertise on these topics have landed her on The CBS Early Show, the Television Food Network, Martha Stewart Living Television, and numerous local television and radio segments from coast to coast. She also writes for national magazines including Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, Saveur, Cooking Pleasures, Cooking Light, Country Living, and several others. Laura is on the board of the American Cheese Society and is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, the James Beard Foundation, and the San Francisco Professional Food Society. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.


Benjamin Wolfe

Benjamin Wolfe is a food scientist at Harvard University, specializing in the microbiology of fermented foods. He earned his PhD from Harvard studying the evolutionary origins of deadly mushrooms, but has recently shifted to studying more edible fungi: the molds and yeasts that make delicious cheese. He is currently working with Rachel Dutton at Harvard's FAS Center for Systems Biology on the first comprehensive study of the microbial biodiversity of American artisanal cheeses. He has worked closely with Jasper Hill Farms in Vermont and the Momofuku Test Kitchen in NYC to discover and characterize native yeasts and molds in food fermentations.


Daphne Zepos

Daphne Zepos was among the most outspoken and dynamic cheese advocates in the United States. She was a former board member for the American Cheese Society, and was Chairperson of the ACS Annual Cheese Competition from 1999 to 2002. Daphne was a co-founder of the Cheese of Choice Coalition, an advocacy group dedicated to the preservation of raw milk and small production cheeses. From 2002 to 2005 Daphne Zepos played a lead role at the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center. She selected and matured more than 300 cheeses in Artisanal's affinage cheese caves, assembled many cheese collections, established Artisanal's Affinage Internship program, and, with Max McCalman, created and taught Artisanal's Cheese Master Class Program. In 2006, Daphne founded the Essex Street Cheese Company, which imports hand-selected cheeses from Europe. Daphne was co-owner of The Cheese School until she passed away in July of 2012. She continues to be an inspiration to the school and her community.