2014 Big Cheese Superstars

GCaldwellIn addition to actively managing their 70 head herd of dairy goats, Gianaclis Caldwell is the cheesemaker and owner (along  with her husband, Vern Caldwell) of Pholia Farm, a licensed dairy located on 24 of the 200 plus acres she grew up on in southern Oregon. Gianaclis is the author of two booksMastering Artisan Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide for Home-Scale and Market Producers and The Farmstead Creamery Advisor: The Complete Guide to Building and Running a Small, Farm-Based Cheese Business.

  JCreighton Judy Creighton ACS CCP is an established cheese educator and founding instructor at The Cheese School of San Francisco.She teaches the “Artisan Cheese & Traditions” course for the Artisan Cheesemaking Certificate Program at the College of Marin. She has been a California Artisan Cheese Guild Board Member for 4 years.  Currently she is the Cheese Program Director at Lavender Ridge Vineyard and still loves being a Cheesemonger.

S ConleySue Conley is the co-owner of Cowgirl Creamery.  Food and community have followed Sue Conley just about everywhere. She caught the restaurant bug early, watching her grandfather hold court at Sholl’s Colonial, the popular Washington DC cafeteria he managed throughout her childhood.  After her time at the University of Tennessee she moved to the San Francisco area in 1976.  11 years later she migrated out to Point Reyes Station where she started Cowgirl Creamery.

   SDavisSheana Davis, cheesemaker, culinary educator, and owner of the The Epicurean Connection in Sonoma, California, has enthusiastically supported the artisan and farmstead cheese movement for more than 20 years.  In 2009, she proudly released her own cheese, Delice de la Vallee, which in 2010 won an ACS 1st Place.  In addition, Sheana produces Crème de Fromage, Le Tois de Fromage and de Mouton.a la Crème.  When not behind the cheese counter, Sheana teaches cooking classes, conducts workshops and participates as a guest chef at local and national culinary events.

Since cheese has been Sarah Dvorak’s mission for several years, it is appropriate that the name of her new shop is Mission Cheese. Dvorak immersed herself in the cheese community through conferences, classes and “the Great American Cheese Tour,” and eventually the concept for Mission Cheese was born.

     JFletcherJanet Fletcher is the author of Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing, and Enjoying, The Cheese Course and My Calabria. She writes a weekly cheese column for the San Francisco Chronicle and is a former staff writer who has earned three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award. She also writes the Cheese Focus column for Specialty Food, a trade publication, and is the author of The Cheese Plate, an iPhone app.

  CHatchColette Hatch, Madame de Fromage, is an internationally known food and wine authority. Her career spans more than three decades and covers all aspects of food and wine marketing and management.  She has a consulting practice in Northern California serving specialty food retailers, wineries and restaurants in the Bay Area culinary community.

  RHigginsRich Higgins became a professional brewer in 2004. His passion for beer led him to passing all three levels of  examination from the Cicerone Certification Program®, and in 2010 he became the third Master Cicerone® in the world. The accreditation certifies him as an excellent interpreter of palate and the ways in which beer develops and heightens a meaningful dining experience. He has a passion for quality, respect for authenticity and is dedicated to celebrating beer and food in the San Francisco area.

       LHillLouella Hill loves making cheese. Years ago, while on a sheep farm in Italy, it dawned on her that she could actually make cheese professionally.   After much thought, she decided she wanted to be a part of the process all the way from grass to dinner plate. Since then, she’s only continued to fall more in love with this art form.  She resides in the San Francisco area and teaches classes in venues such as The Cheese School of San Francisco, SF City College, 18 Reasons and Urban Kitchen San Francisco, as well as private instruction.

 Leah McFaddenLeah McFadden grew up in a warm and food loving family. She started working at Whole Foods Market in 2008 and was first bitten by the cheese bug when she held the Demo Specialist position in 2010 and was sampling out French cheeses to customers. Once she took a bite of Boucherondin, she was hooked. Very shortly after that Leah became the cheese buyer in the Specialty department where she learned as much as she could about cheese and how to take care of it. Now she is running her own Specialty team at the Whole Foods Market in San Jose, CA.

  BPeakIn 2003 Bob Peak began to work with The Beverage People and in 2006 became a partner. Bob enjoys making cheese, wine and beer at home; some of which have won awards including a blue ribbon at the California State Fair, a first-place gold medal in the Western Regionals of the American Homebrew Association competition, and the rare opportunity to brew a Pro-Am collaboration beer at Bear Republic Brewing in Healdsburg.

     JRasmussenJanne Rasmussen is the Marketing Manager for Cypress Grove Chevre in Arcata, CA and a native of Humboldt County. As Marketing Manager, part of her role involves entertaining  large groups of visitors and educating customers. With a background in competitive dairy products evaluation and a keen interest in tasting and cooking with cheese, this self-taught chef brings passion and fun to the time-honored tradition of gathering people and food together.

 P SmithPeggy Smith, Co-Owner of Cowgirl Creamery, knows her way around a kitchen. Born in Texas and raised in Northern Virginia, she started her culinary career serving hearty suppers to food and folk music lovers at Gallagher’s in Washington, DC.  Her move to San Francisco in 1976 coincided with the food revolution begun by Alice Waters.  Peggy worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley for 17 years before Sue Conley asked her to consider starting a cheese company in Point Reyes; she jumped at the chance.

Laura WerlinLaura Werlin is positively passionate about cheese and has written six highly acclaimed books on the subject which include The New American Cheese, The All American Cheese and Wine Book, Great Grilled Cheese, Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials, Grilled Cheese, Please! and her newest, Mac & Cheese, Please! 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.