Our roster of instructors is filled with passionate and knowledgable experts in cheese, wine, charcuterie, and specialty foods. They work as cheesemongers, cheesemakers, cheese shop owners, and so much more.
Janet Fletcher writes the Planet Cheese blog and is the author of three books on cheese (Cheese & Wine, Cheese & Beer and The Cheese Course). She is also the longtime cheese columnist for Specialty Food magazine. Janet is the recipient of three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award for her journalism. Her writing has appeared in numerous national magazines,including Saveur, Bon Appétit and Food & Wine. Her most recent book is Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. www.janetfletcher.com
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.
As a Bay Area native, Eli 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 and 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.
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 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.
After completing her Masters in Culinary Arts Administration from the University of Oregon, Liz Cutler Rubin has become a "Jane of Artisanal Trades." Over the past 9 years she has specialized in the trades of butchery, cheese, and wine. She has worked at the James Beard Foundation, Avedano's meats, Mission Cheese, and Birite Market. Liz is also the assistant manager for the Oregon Truffle Festival, a seasonal post she has held for seven years. Her current full-time position is the Head of Cheese and Alcohol at Birite Market on Divisadero.
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).
Jarred Sorci is a Bay Area native approaching ten years as a beer industry professional. His career began in retail, running beer departments at Whole Foods Market locations in Los Altos, San Francisco, and San Jose, before relocating and jumping to the production side of the industry with Ruhstaller, a small brewery and hop farm in Sacramento. Over two years, he oversaw the Research and Development brewing program, farmed and helped manage their 7.5 acre hop yard, and regularly taught “Hop School” classes on weekends during the growing season. His love of history and beer lured him back to the Bay Area, and to Anchor Brewing Company, putting his skills to use guiding tours, private tastings, and later as a packaging specialist. He continues his quest for knowledge and experience of all things beer currently at Admiral Malting in Alameda, where he helps bridge the gap between the farm and brew house, malting grain for brewers and distillers across the country.
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.
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.