About Us

The Cheese School of San Francisco is the only independent institution of its kind in the nation. We are devoted to helping you maximize your enjoyment and appreciation of cheese. Our philosophy is “eating is learning” and we treat our students to a cornucopia of education and tasting events, both structured and informal.

Founded in 2006, The Cheese School of San Francisco and its roster of expert instructors are also available for corporate events and private parties. Events can be held either at the Cheese School’s classroom facility in San Francisco’s Mission District or off-site.

Classes and events are designed to be fun, informative and most of all, delicious.

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.


Blythe Riske

Blythe Riske (Operations Director) spent many years in Minnesota's Twin Cities doing marketing for her favorite art and public media organizations. A former picky eater, she became a food enthusiast thanks to her home chef husband and her time behind the cheese counters of France 44 and the St. Paul Cheese Shop. When she moved to the Bay Area in 2011, she was lucky enough to work for Daphne Zepos and eventually join The Cheese School staff. When not answering the school's office phone, she's teaching her 2-year-old how to pit olives or which cheese rinds are edible.


Noreen Guizar

Noreen Guizar (General Manager, Cheese & Beer Buyer) blissfully found herself behind a cheese counter while working towards her Art History degree in San Francisco. With a growing addiction to fine foods she dove head first into her conquest to eat as much cheese as humanly possible. At Andronico’s Community Markets, she gained an infectious enthusiasm for all things cheesy. That enthusiasm brought her to Portland, Oregon and Cheese Bar. While furthering her cheese education and feeding into her appreciation of a good beer, she gained an even greater fondness for a mind-blowing combination of the two. Taking what she learned, she moved back to San Francisco ready to spread the good word of cheese. When she’s not preparing for classes, she’s having cheesetastic picnics or can be found at her favorite beer bar.


Jocelyn VanLandingham

Jocelyn VanLandingham (Chef) grew up eating fresh out of her grandparents orchard and hails from a family of chefs. Naturally she went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America. In her first kitchen job she snagged a position working under chef Cat Cora. During this time she made more fresh mozzarella than Italy. She went on to work at Rechiutti Chocolates, RN74, Waiheke Island Yacht Club and Gastronaut. When she's not at The Cheese School, you can find her at the farmers market or enjoying a glass of bubbles.


Monica Kusaka Herrero

Monica Kusaka Herrero

Monica Kusaka Herrero (Kitchen Lead) started her cheese journey in the dairy dense lands of the Midwest. She followed her interest in cheese to northern Italy where she spent a few months on a sheep and goat farm learning to shepherd, milk, and make cheese. Back in the US, she landed in San Francisco and found herself interning with The Cheese School to broaden her cheese knowledge and get her feet wet slinging cheese. When not answering calls in the office or cutting cheese, she is exploring the Bay Area!



Karen Ortiz

Karen Ortiz

Karen Ortiz (Kitchen & Events Lead) grew up in Hidalgo, Mexico. While studying marketing in college she did an exchange program in Europe where she discovered her passion for cheese and charcuterie. In 2014, she moved to San Francisco in search of new challenges and to learn a new language. By chance, she came by The Cheese School and discovered that this was the perfect place for her and cheese has become one of her favorite things. When not at The Cheese School, you’ll find her fervently studying English or eating a slice of prosciutto.



M. Nicolaescu

M. Nicolaescu (Kitchen Assistant) is the newest member of The Cheese School of San Francisco via Seattle, Washington and Bucharest, Romania. Her love for food and everything buttery (M. is trained as a pastry chef), desire to try anything at least once make her fit right in with our company’s philosophy: eating is learning. When she’s not working or taking classes at The Cheese School, you can find her at one of the multitudes of great restaurants in San Francisco, searching for the best old fashioned in town together with friends.



Eli Joyce

Eli (Cheese & Beer Buyer) is a Bay Area native, and has always had a deep and abiding love for good food. Her career in cheese was purely accidental though, kickstarted by the need for an off-campus job while studying vocal jazz and anthropology in New York. From there, a Titanic-sized love affair was born. She spent three years as a cheesemonger at Bedford Cheese Shop and BKLYN Larder before deciding she needed a change of scenery. Quite fortuitously, she found The Cheese School! When she's not knee deep in cheese, you can find her stealing socks back from her dog and singing very loudly in the car. But also, eating more cheese.



Caitlin Fahey

Caitlin (Office & Events Coordinator) began her professional career in South Florida where she worked for four years as the Event Manager for a local nonprofit. She moved from sunny south Florida to Chicago in 2013, back to the city where she was born, in an attempt to pursue different professional opportunities. Caitlin and her fiancé moved to San Francisco in 2014 and she has been focused learning more about food, cooking and on professional opportunities in the food service industry. After working for a year as a line cook at Coqueta in San Francisco, she has found the perfect place to combine her love of food and her passion for planning events at The Cheese School. At home you can find her in the kitchen cooking, experimenting and practicing making homemade pasta.



Mia Nakano

Mia (Project & Online Media Director) is a visual media artist, digital strategist, and social change maker based out of Oakland, CA. She is the Director of the Visibility Project, a national photography and oral history collection focused on the Queer Asian American Women and Trans community, founder of Hyphen magazine, and board member of Banteay Srei. Nakano has contributed works to the De Young, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Kathmandu Post, Salon.com, and Mother Jones. Her love of cheese developed into a career because of Kiri Fisher and Daphne Zepos. Both women brought Nakano a deeper understanding, appreciation, and education of the cheese world and it’s history. Years ago, Kiri introduced Nakano to Coupole and Bonne Bouche from Vermont Creamery and they are still her favorite cheeses. She splits her time between The Cheese School of San Francisco, Fisher’s Cheese + Wine, and doing social justice work within the LGBTQ AAPI community.