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.



Tamara Hicks

Co-Owner at Tomales Farmstead Creamery & Daily Driver

Tamara Hicks is the owner of Tomales Farmstead Creamery in Marin County and co-owner of Daily Driver in San Francisco. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Agriculture Institute of Marin and Marin Agriculture Land Trust. As a Clinical Psychologist she is passionate about how to create fair and healthy food systems that are produced in a way that are environmentally friendly, and provide for the economic, emotional and physical wellbeing of everybody in the system, from production to processing to distribution.

Debra Dickerson

Director of Education at Tomales Bay Foods & Cowgirl Creamery

Education has always been a part of sustainable sales growth, and Debra has been talking to cheese buyers and cheese mongers from 2009 to early 2020 with Tomales Bay Foods as Director of Sales. Prior to joining Tomales Bay Foods Debra traveled the country building market recognition for small cheese producers including Neal’s Yard Dairy, Jasper Hill, Redwood Hill, Avonlea, and Cowgirl Creamery.

When Debra is not working with the exceptional team at Tomales Bay Foods, she is explaining to the office dog, Xena, that social distancing will not last forever and the role of Chief Morale Officer is to demonstrate good will and equality for all and is more crucial now than ever.

Join Debra in supporting Victory Cheese, and expanding diversity and advanced job opportunities in the cheese world. She is proud to be co-chairing the Cheese committee with Tamara Hicks for the 2021 awards.

Former Committee Members

Izzy Craveling, Cheese Specialist, Peterson Cheese Company
Kelly Moore
, Sales Specialist, Tomales Bay Foods
Rachel Perez, Sales Specialist, Tony’s Fine Foods


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, committed to equity, inclusion, and justice in all levels of their business.

*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

**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:

  • Fresh
  • Semi-Soft
  • Semi-Hard
  • Hard
  • Yogurt

Former Judges

Molly Brownson

Senior Account Manager, Tony's Fine Foods

Felice Charlton

Cheese Specialist, The Chefs Warehouse

Debra Dickerson

Wholesale Sales Director, Tomales Bay Foods

Janet Tarlov

Co-Owner, Canyon Market

Sisi Hansen

Specialty Food Department Manager, Good Earth Natural Foods, Fairfax

Kinda Kiyyali

Owner, Sincerely, San Francisco

Kiri Fisher

Proprietor, The Cheese School of San Francisco

Sandra Elisa Loofbourow

Tasting Room Director, Royal Coffee

Jessica Theroux

Founder, Cooking with Grandmothers

Allie McElwee

Marketing Director, 4505 Meats

Brandon Buza

Head Fermenter, The Fermented Life

Kelly LeCoy

Communications Director, Real Food Real Stories

Christina Gutierrez-Williams

Director of Culinary Development, Thistle

Mei Ling Hui

Community Garden Program Manager, San Francisco Recreation and Parks

Moti Phillips

Restaurant Account Executive, Chewse

Alma Avalos

Cheese Buyer, Market Hall Foods

Max Kirwin

Operations Manager, California Olive Oil Council

Christina Skonberg

Senior Sustainability Analyst, Annie's Homegrown