Good Food Awards will be given to the tastiest artisan and farmstead cheeses in the categories of Fresh, Semi-Soft, Semi-Hard, Hard, and Yogurt. Cheeses and yogurts that meet the standards for entry are made using good animal husbandry, without the use of hormones, and without the use of synthetic inputs on the pastures.
The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the cheese community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the cheese standard are and who will be judging this year.
Owner at Casein Point Cheese – San Francisco, CA
Samantha Chertoff of the owner of Casein Point Cheese, providing sales, marketing and logistics management for artisanal cheese producers. With over ten years of experience, Samantha utilizes her knowledge to help smaller dairies succeed and to preserve the art of small-batch cheese making. A judge at the GFAs years ago, she is honored to be co-chairing the Cheese team for 2019.
After beginning her career working the back of house in restaurants, Samantha applied for a job as a cheese apprentice at Di Bruno Bros., in Philadelphia. There she learned everything a cheesemonger could hope for under some of the most impressive cheese faces in the industry. She was previously the Head Buyer at Glen’s Garden Market in Washington D.C. where she spent most days sourcing new products that fell in line with the Good Food criteria and educating her staff.
In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, cheese entries must meet the following standards:
- Made in the USA or US territories.
- Made by the entrant’s own company, with milk from animals raised using good animal husbandry* with access to the outdoors.
- Made without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers on the pastures.
- Made without hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics.
- Made with rBGH-free milk.
- Made with sustainable repurposing of byproducts, such as whey, where possible.
- Made with milk from animals fed local, GM-free feed where available. Where it is not, the crafter is invested in being an agent of change towards greater availability, by working with suppliers and local granges, vocalizing their interest in this type of local feed if and when it becomes available.**
- Made with other ingredients, such as rennet, starter cultures, yogurt additions, herbs and washes that are sourced domestically or locally (where possible) and produced without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers and non-GMO.
- Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, oriented toward growing their business in harmony with a better food system.
*The Good Food Foundation will refer to GAP Level 5 guidelines to define “good animal husbandry” should there be any questions as to eligibility based on this criterion.
**Our intention is that producers make their best efforts to balance the realities of feed supplies with the ideals of responsible and sustainable production methods.
Additionally, cheese entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:
Author, The Art of Natural Cheesemaking
Owner, Cheese Plus
Director of Culinary Strategy, EDENS
Wholesale Director, Tomales Bay Foods / Cowgirl Creamery
General Manager, American Provisions
Owner, Mission Cheese
Professor, UC Berkeley
Senior Program Manager, Di Bruno Bros.
Publisher, Planet Cheese
Co-Founder & CEO, Chewse
Operations Manager, Jumi Cheese
Head Cheesemonger, Allium Market and Cafe
Cheesemaking Teacher & Educator, It's Not You, It's Brie
Director of Education, Institut du Fromage, Gourmet Foods International
Consul General of Italy in San Francisco, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Events & Tour Manager, Dandelion Chocolate
Salumi e Formaggi & Fresh Pasta Manager, Eataly - Los Angeles
Specialty Food & Cheese Buyer, Sigona's Farmers Markets
Cheese Specialist, Jacobsons Gourmet Concepts and The Cheese Poet
Producer & Host, Cutting the Curd Podcast, Heritage Radio Network
Kathleen Shannon Finn
Fromage Liaison, Cheesediva Essentials
Partner, Zingerman's Family of Businesses
Cheese and Charcuterie Supervisor, Liberty Heights Fresh
Founder, The Whole Beast