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.



Felice Thorpe

Sales Director at Laura Chenel

Growing up on a farm in Bolinas, California, Felice has strong roots in American agriculture and has long been passionate about handcrafted foods. Formerly the president of the California Artisan Cheese Guild and a cheese sales specialist for The Chefs Warehouse, Felice works diligently promoting the craft of cheesemaking through sales, education and awareness. “My professional and personal mission is to share world class excellent tasting cheese and meaningful food to our neighbors and beyond.”

Mary E Calo

Director of Sales at Principe Foods

Mary is a Specialty Foods and Cheese professional who has been working in this industry for well over 25 years. Having started at Whole Foods Market when both company and she were young in age, this experience was the foundation to her long specialty food career. After a successful run at Whole Foods, she moved on to importation and distribution of Specialty Foods and Cheese which at the time required an enormous dedication to educating the customer and clients on storing, handling, and pairing of specialty foods and cheeses. Mary’s clients varied from small independent grocery stores, to high end/large volume specialty stores, to Chef’s and Pastry Chef’s new to the specialty cheese world.

Sigfried “Ziggy” von Frankenberg-Leu

Bay Area Sales and Operations Director at The Aniata Cheese Co.

Sigfried or “Ziggy” as many in the industry know him, has been in cheese for almost 15 years. He has a well rounded knowledge of the industry. From managing counters like Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco, to making cheese at European Alpage dairies. Currently Ziggy is the Bay Area Sales and Operations Director for the Aniata Cheese Company. Having grown up in Wisconsin before planting roots in California, his passion for dairy is deeply rooted.

Committee Members

Matt Zender, Head Cheesemonger, The Epicurean Trader
Doralice Handal, Owner, Handal Winery & Cheese Shop of Healdsburg
Stephanie Jordan, Sales Manager, Worlds Best Cheese


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 and inclusion in all levels of their business,*** as exemplified through integrating these  practices:
    • Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
    • Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
    • For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.***

*The Good Food Foundation will ask producers to provide The National Dairy FARM Program certification or equivalent documentation of animal care.
**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.
***Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.


Additionally, cheese entries must fit within one of the following subcategories (vegetarian and/or vegan substitutes are permitted):

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

2022 Judges

Rebekah Baker

Sales Manager, Tillamook

Colette Hatch

Consultant, Oliver

David Hauss

Sales Manager, Pacific Cheese Company

Amy Mackintosh

Cheese Specialist, Sigonas Farmers Market

Omri Avraham

Cheese Purchaser, The Cheese Board Collective

Iris Williamson

Mission Bay Wine & Cheese, Food Director

Erin Christie

Regional Sales Manager, Fra’Mani Handcrafted Foods

Debra Dickerson

Director of Education & Customer Outreach, Cowgirl Creamery /Tomales Bay Foods

Janet Fletcher

Publisher, Planet Cheese

Jonathan Alexander

Cheesemonger + Wine Buyer, Little Vine

Michelle Sheely

Director of Sales, Three Trees