host - anna juhl
Born and raised around family farms in Iowa, USA, Anna Juhl grew up eating and cooking the foods her Czech, German and Swedish ancestors had traditionally made. Her love of food and cooking saw her working happily within the family business, Juhl Haus Market & Café, a destination food oasis in Salt Lake City. During that time, Anna was winning awards for cheese fondue, best bratwurst and best dining experience.
During her time at Juhl Haus, Anna sourced the finest cheeses and other foods from artisan European and American producers to share with her customers and chefs. Cheese Journeys’ travelers will now have a chance to meet and learn from these speciality food producers while dining at their tables. A dedicated food professional, Anna offers a warm and personal style of hospitality which lies at the heart of what Cheese Journeys offers.
“Cheese Journeys has been a vision for a long time”, says Juhl. “When my
family and I first traveled to Europe and experience these cheeses and
met these producers personally, it was life changing. By creating this
type of food travel opportunity, not just for food professionals but
also for cheese enthusiasts, we hope to lend greater support to these
amazing cheese makers of the world and help build in the USA, a wider
appreciation for quality produced artisanal foods."
TEACHER/associate - chris george
Chris’s love for cheese saw him begin working for acclaimed British cheesemongers Neal’s Yard Dairy (NYD) in 1995. His work there included retail, cheese maturation, wholesale and export. In 2004 Chris established NYD’s tastings and education programme, which he ran until he left NYD in 2011. His work included weekly training for members of the food industry, tours of the NYD maturing rooms in Bermondsey, London and public events, as well as visiting cheese producers in Europe and further afield.
He is also an experienced teacher, having worked with a wide variety of institutions including The School of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire, Rick Stein's Cookery School in Cornwall, The San Francisco Cheese School in California, Murray's Cheese Shop in Manhattan and The Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn, New York.
Chris has considerable TV and radio experience, has given talks at major food festivals and judged at the British Cheese Awards, the World Cheese Awards, The World Cheese Contest and The Great Yorkshire Show. He was part of the two-man Great Britain team at the inaugural Caseus Awards in Lyon, 2005 and is also a contributing writer for Oxford University Press's forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese.
Now based in America, he is teaching himself how to brew beer, worked for Beer Table at Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal, teaches cheese and beverage classes both privately and for Murray’s Cheese, gives support with NYD's U.S. export department and manages the cheese program for Mekelberg's in Brooklyn, New York.
teacher - max mccalman
Max was able to turn his love for cheese from a hobby into a profession in 1995. He joined Picholine Restaurant as Maître d'Hotel and consequently launched its cheese service. He spearheaded the installment of the first temperature and humidity controlled cheese cave in a North American restaurant. Max's new 'office' became the talk of the town. In 2002, Max began working on his first book, which was the first step towards becoming an award-winning author. Max has authored four books, The Cheese Plate, Cheese, a Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best, Mastering Cheese, and Max McCalman's Swatchbook of Wine and Cheese Pairings. He won a James Beard award for Cheese and Mastering Cheese went on to win Best Cheese Book in the World, at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in Paris.
His growing cheese expertise made him an instrumental part in the planning and designing of the second restaurant, the Artisanal Bistro. In response to the success of the Bistro, the idea for the new Artisanal Cheese Center was conceived and opened with larger state-of-the-art cheese caves, a production area, a classroom, and sales offices. Max was involved in all areas of planning and operating the Artisanal Center as its Maître Fromager and Dean of Curriculum.
Max had become an esteemed cheese judge and critic by this time: judging at a number of cheese competitions around the U.S. and Europe, as well as being a featured guest lecturer in various venues. Max was one of the founders of the American Cheese Society's Certified Cheese Professional program launched in 2004, further helping to revolutionize cheese education in the United States. He became Chairman of its committee in 2012. He was inducted France's Guilde Internationale des Fromagers Comfrérie de Saint-Uguzon as Maître Fromager in 2013.
Max left the Artisanal company in May of 2014 to focus on other creative endeavors in the cheese industry: educating and training private and corporate clients; writing articles, blogs, and a new book; hosting events and trips; consulting for restaurants, retailers, and cheesemakers; and developing a new cheese app, as well as an educational web-based program.
teacher - Emilio Mignucci
Emilio Mignucci is one of three, third-generation family business owners who currently lead the Di Bruno Bros. Enterprise, a leading specialty food retailer that originated in Philadelphia’s Italian Market. Together with his brother, Bill Mignucci and their cousin, William Mignucci Jr., Emilio has helped to grow the family business from one small store to what it is today; a company with five retail stores, a successful e-commerce business, a busy import and distribution business, a growing catering operation and an independent commissary kitchen that serves the retail stores and catering division.
Growing up, Emilio spent the vast majority of his time in the original Di Bruno Bros. 9th Street store, working, tasting and learning all about the delicious imported products that founders Danny and Joe Di Bruno offered in their small shop. The love of food that he developed over the years led Emilio to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts. After graduating from the Restaurant School in 1986, he returned to Di Bruno Bros. to take a leadership position as Vice President of Culinary Pioneering.
One of Emilio’s main responsibilities in his current role is discovering new products and deciding which of them will get a coveted spot on the Di Bruno Bros. shelves. He has been recognized by several organizations for his success in doing so; most notably by the Italian Trade Commission for his representation of Italian Food and Culture and the James Beard Foundation for making Philadelphia a “better food city.” He also loves to talk about cheese and spends his time educating members of the restaurant community on the merits of a great cheese plate and how to speak about cheese confidently with their guests.
Emilio’s expertise and passion for food has helped him to grow the cheese offerings at Di Bruno Bros. from the 50 varieties it offered in its earlier days to well over 600 cheeses from all over the world. He still works every Saturday at the Italian Market store where it all began and divides the rest of his time between looking for the next great specialty food product, working at the various Di Bruno Bros. locations and contributing to the various boards and committees in which he participates. Regardless of what he may be doing at any given moment, Emilio is always demonstrating Di Bruno Bros.’ core value of “Celebrating Great Food, Great People and Great Business.”
teacher - steve jones
Steve Jones is a cheesemonger, educator, and cheese ambassador. Steve began his cheesemongering career nearly 20 years ago, opening several cheese counters in the Midwest. In 2006 Steve launched his own retail business, Steve’s Cheese, a small cheese counter in Northwest Portland that quickly developed a cult following. In March 2010, the business moved to Cheese Bar, a retail cheese counter and casual restaurant that offers a rotating menu built with artisan and farmstead products. Cheese Bar allows Steve to share his love of beer and his pursuit of interesting cheese and beer/wine pairings. In addition to cheesemongering, Steve’s experience includes directing the cheese department for Provvista Specialty Foods Inc., one of the nation’s most admired wholesale purveyors of fine cheeses and specialty products; brokering for a group of Oregon artisan cheesemakers; and interning in affinage and marketing with Neal’s Yard Dairy in London.
As a consultant and repeat instructor with the Food by Hand’s The Craft and Business of Retailing Artisan Cheese seminar and the Cheese School of San Francisco, Steve has shared his enthusiasm for cheese and retail expertise with aspiring cheese mongers. He has also designed and led numerous classes in a variety of venues on cheese basics and cheese pairings with beer, wine, and chocolate.
Steve has been active with many local and national cheese organizations. 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’s long background in beer exploration and pairing includes classes and collaborations with many microbreweries. Steve is also a founding member of the Portland Firkin Fest.
Steve has served multiple times as a judge for the ACS annual competitions, as well as the American Dairy Goat Association. He has volunteered as a panel member and presenter on many occasions for the ACS annual conference and other organizations/events, including 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. In 2011, Steve competed with 40 cheesemongers from around the world to win the 2nd Annual Cheesemonger Invitational in Long Island, New York. Steve has appeared in local and national media outlets, including Portland’s Live Wire radio show and National Public Radio’s The Splendid Table.
teacher - laura downey
A lifelong food lover and former retail professional, Laura Downey is co-owner and buyer for Fairfield Cheese Company in Fairfield, CT and the newly opened Greenwich Cheese Company in Greenwich, CT. Since opening its doors in May of 2009, Fairfield Cheese Company has quickly become the area’s premier source for artisanal cheese and is the recipient of CT Magazine’s 2011 & 2012 Best Cheese Selection in CT and has been recognized in Food & Wine Magazine Online as a top 5 place to buy cheese in the US by cheese expert and author Laura Werlin.
Laura spent her childhood as an expat with stints in Great Britain and France where she developed a love of good food and travel. Since opening her cheese shop, she has traveled several times to the Savoie region of France and to the Slow Food Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy in search of authentic products to fill her shop and to develop a deeper understanding of traditional cheeses. Her love affair with the French Alps was cemented in 2013 when she and her husband stumbled upon the Concours Agricole de la Race Abondance (Abondance Cow Parade) in Megeve France, a tradition to celebrate the cow’s descent from summer pastures. This event has been held on the last Sunday in September since the 13th century.
Laura is an active member of The American Cheese Society, and has earned the professional designation "Certified Cheese Professional" (ACS, CCP). The ACS is the leading organization promoting and supporting cheese in North America. She is also a member of the VT Cheese Council and Slow Food USA. She is a frequent cheese columnist for local media outlets and has developed the popular Cheese School at Fairfield Cheese Company where Laura passes along her knowledge and passion for everything Cheese.
teacher - tenaya darlington
Tenaya Darlington is the author of the blog Madame Fromage (MadameFromageBlog.com; @MmeFromage) and a professor of English at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Before she jumped down the cheese rabbit hole, she lived in Wisconsin and ran the food section for the local alternative weekly newspaper, Isthmus.
Today, she writes for Culture Magazine and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and has served as cheese correspondent for The New York Times Thanksgiving hotline. Her most recent books include a novel, Maybe Baby (Little, Brown 2004), and a cheese guide, Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Pairings and Recipes (Running Press, 2013).
teacher - janet fletcher
Janet Fletcher is the author of three books on cheese (The Cheese Course, Cheese & Wine and Cheese & Beer) and the publisher of Planet Cheese, a complimentary e-mail newsletter and blog. A longtime Bay Area journalist, Janet is the recipient of three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award for her writing, and she is a member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. Her work has appeared in numerous national magazines, including Culture, Saveur, Fine Cooking, Bon Appétit and Food & Wine. She lives in Napa Valley but teaches cooking and cheese-appreciation classes around the country. Her next book, Yogurt: Sweet & Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, will be published by Ten Speed Press in April. (www.janetfletcher.com)
teacher - jenny linford
I’m a freelance food writer, a member of the Guild of Food Writers and author of fifteen books, ranging from cookery books to ingredient guides. Over the years I’ve written for a variety of publications, including The Guardian, Time Out’s Eating Out guides and The Times. My website work has included researching and writing for the British Library’s Food Stories website, a fascinating project using audio-clips from the Life Stories collection.
Born in London, my interest in food stems from living as a child in Singapore and Italy, places where good food is important to the community, both taken for granted and relished as a great pleasure.
I’m an inveterate food shopper, always on the look-out for ingredients to cook with or delicious things to eat, whether it be tangy barberries from an Iranian supermarket or a freshly baked barbecued pork bun from one of Chinatown’s bakeries. London’s fantastically diverse food scene offers constant inspiration for recipes, articles and books such as Food Lovers’ London, The London Cookbook, The Creamery Kitchen and London a World of Eating.
teacher - Stephen Catania
Stephen Catania is the owner and operator of the The Cheese Cave. The Cheese Cave, which opened in February 2011, is an artisan cheese and specialty food store in Red Bank, NJ, named by Smithsonian Magazine in 2012 as one of the 20 best small towns in America. The Cheese Cave offers a varying inventory of over 100 cheeses with a focus on American Artisans supported by European favorites. The mission of the Cheese Cave is to promote a broader appreciation of the cheese world, hosting a series of educational cheese classes and weekly cheese samplings throughout the year. The Cheese Cave seeks out unique products that emphasize the true meaning of artisanal, traditional small production of high quality ingredients.
Stephen is a Hospitality veteran with over 25 years in the industry, beginning with his classic training at the French Culinary Institute in New York. As a part of his broad and diverse career, Stephen has been successful in a variety of endeavors throughout his career, holding positions of Executive Chef, Restaurant General Manager, Director of Hotel Food and Beverage Operations, Hotel Manager, Director of Operations for an Off Premise Catering Company as well as Boutique Catering Company.
Remaining true to his passion for his craft, Stephen continues to seek out opportunities to broaden his knowledge and understanding of the wide world of cheese, having attended a series of workshops and classes at the University of Vermont on Milk Chemistry, Cheesemaking and Affinage. In 2015, Stephen became an ACS Certified Cheese Professional.
teacher - chuck kellner
Chuck Kellner was born and raised in New Jersey, where he began a high stress career in the technology industry. His interest in food, wine & cheese developed when he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he fell in love with West Marin and the Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station. His “aha moment” in cheese came during a presentation in Napa by Oxbow cheesemonger Lassa Skinner, cofounder of Culture Magazine. Listening to Lassa talk, he realized that the same cheeses he knew and loved tasted quite different, and much more complex, when he knew about the farmers, their animals and the back story. His desire to share his love for all things cheese by educating others as to the unique story behind each cheese became his passion. He feels strongly that knowing how various artisan cheeses are made can foster an individual’s greater appreciation for taste and quality.
He completed the UC Berkeley Extension/College of Marin Artisan Cheesemaking Certificate Program, taught in part by Daphne Zepos of Essex Cheese. She steered him to The San Francisco Cheese School where he took the Master Intensive Cheese Education Program, and met Peggy Smith and Debra Dickerson of Cowgirl Creamery. He joined Cowgirl as a cheesemonger shortly thereafter. In an effort to continually expand his knowledge Chuck never passes up an opportunity to attend, or present at, a cheese pairing event.
Chuck has always enjoyed getting to know the cheesemakers and farmers because their enthusiasm for their work matched his. An avid traveler, Chuck seeks out local artisan cheesemakers wherever he travels to hear their unique stories. This has included finding a delightful 80 year old goat cheese farmer who makes an award winning guava wood smoked chevre in Honokaa, Hawaii. He also sought out the origin of Paski Sir, the cheese that won a gold medal at the World Cheese Competition and is made only on the tiny windswept island of Pag in Croatia.
Chuck is a member of the American Cheese Society and the California Artisan Cheese Guild. He has worked at the annual California Artisan Cheese Festival. He loves to create new educational opportunities around cheese. This is Chuck’s first trip with Cheese Journeys, but not his last.
associate - sylvain jamois
I started cooking at the age of six when I was entrusted with vinaigrette-making duties at home in eastern France, where my grandmother owned a traditional bistro. It was she who taught me to really taste and experience food.
We soon moved south where I tasted new flavours and an abundance of fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables. I was also exposed to merguez, rose petals and the scents and spices of Moroccan cuisine.
I came to England and went to work at Moro - a restaurant in London with roots in Spain and the Muslim Mediterranean. This was a wonderful apprenticeship in an open and nurturing environment where a cook could really develop.
Now I work as a freelance cook for many different people and organisations. My rich and varied experiences give me energy and plenty of inspiration.
I love sharing my cooking knowledge, and it's a pleasure to communicate those experiences. When people understand the value of eating well, and also the need to look after the planet - I believe they will make better choices. It's worth the effort for the joy it brings.
©2016 Cheese Journeys