Cathy Strange - Global Executive Coordinator - Specialty and Product Innovation and Development, Whole Foods Market
As the Global Cheese Buyer for Whole Foods Market, Cathy has become an authority at detecting international food trends during her travels around the world while seeking out vendor partners that meet Whole Foods Market's strict Quality Standards. After selecting new partners, Cathy works diligently with small producers to help them sustain a profitable business. Cathy is a former president of the American Cheese Society, and a member of the Cheese Importers Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Slow Food USA, and Les Dames d'Escoffier where she serves as the President of the Austin chapter. Cathy and Whole Foods were founding members of the original Cheese of Choice Coalition and she has been recognized widely for her support of traditional, artisan, and raw-milk cheese receiving such prestigious awards as the Coltello d'Oro and Ordre du Mérite Agricole.
Ruth Flore - Cheese Marketer, Past President American Cheese Society
Ruth has played a significant role in developing the specialty cheese industry in America for over two decades. Since her early marketing efforts for Vermont Butter and Cheese Company/Vermont Creamery she has been a consultant for the industry bringing specialty/small production cheesemakers’ products to market on both a regional and national level. She currently manages the marketing and business development efforts for Norseland, Inc. and has played a vital role in the continued success of Norseland's partner brands in the US market. Ruth has been a leading member of the American Cheese Society since its early days serving as president, conference co-chair, and on the board of directors. Ruth co-founded the Cheese of Choice Coalition in 1999 to protect production and sale of raw-milk cheese in the US. She regularly consults Will Studd in the research, development, and production of the Cheese Slices series. She is a member of the prestigious Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. When not laboring on behalf of good cheese, Ruth enjoys photography, cooking, and travel—not necessarily in that order.
Will Studd - Cheese Retailer; Author; Host of "Cheese Slices"
Will has worked with artisan cheese since establishing specialist food stores in central London in the 1970s. Migrating to Melbourne, Australia in the 1980s, Will has done much to promote a greater understanding of good cheese in the land down under and has played a significant role in amending Australia’s strict dairy and cheese regulations. Will has published two popular books Chalk and Cheese, was published in 1999 and his follow-up title, Cheese Slices, was published in 2007. Will has been the executive producer and presenter of the Cheese Slices video series since 2002. He holds the prestigious title of Officier of the Ordre National du Merite Agricole for his work in the defense of raw-milk cheese.
David Lockwood - Managing Director and Partner, Neal's Yard Dairy
David began his career in cheese as a manager at famed Zingerman’s Delicatessen. In 1991 he moved across the pond to London to learn about cheese maturation from the experts at Neal’s Yard Dairy. Neal's Yard Dairy has been the key player in the revitalization of traditional farmhouse cheeses throughout Britain and beyond. Over the course of the last two decades, David has worked in nearly every aspect of the business: maturing, purchasing, sales, and in the office. Today, he continues eating a lot of cheese as the managing director and a partner at Neal’s Yard Dairy. He holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Georgetown University.
Sue Conley - Co-Founder, Cowgirl Creamery
Sue started Cowgirl Creamery with her good friend Peggy Smith over two decades ago. What began as Tomales Bay Foods, a marketing vehicle to help West Marin County's farms and dairies get their products to the Bay Area's finest chefs, is now a veritable cheese mecca. Cowgirl Creamery now has four retail stores, two creameries and has won dozens of awards. Prior to founding the creamery, Sue cooked with the likes of Bambi McDonald and Paul Bertoli before opening up her own restaurant Bette's Oceanview Diner. Her co-authored book Cowgirl Creamery Cooks was published in 2013. She sits on the board of directors at Marin Agricultural Land Trust and when not inspiring better eating in the Bay Area and beyond, Sue is an avid hiker.