Master cheesemaker and an ardent defender of French gastronomic diversity, Roland Barthelemy is a man of passion who fell into the pot when he was little. Born in 1949, his parents passionate about dairy with a storefront in Paris, the young apprentice cheesemaker began multiple internship at sixteen: manufacturing, refining and retail. Roland met and worked with the biggest names in cheese and in 1971, he acquired a small dairy in Paris making many discoveries over the years. Roland Barthélemy's shop became the cheese shop to go to for all of Paris.
In 1997, after many years of effort, the National Federation of Retailers Dairy under the leadership of its President Mr. Claude Bellot managed to begin the famous craft cheese national contest: "One of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France". It was Roland Barthlemey who was elected by the FNDPL and appointed by decree of the Minister of Education as "President of the Jury of the class Cheese."
In 2003, he left his shop in the Rue de Grenelle to to become Cheese Master globetrotter. As President of the Guild of Cheesemakers, he travels the world to bring recognition to the raw milk cheeses and diversity of French gastronomy in Tokyo, Montreal, Rome, Brussels and elsewhere. He presents at conferences, advises brands and works in partnership with Forge de Laguiole.
Closely associated with the major turning point that saw the gourmet cheese today, Roland Barthélemy supports and reinforces what he calls "the Cheese Attitude" because, he said, "what this extraordinary ingredient that is cheese, can adapt to all uses and all associations: sweet / salty, crunchy / chewy, spicy & delicious ... and it is associated with both our finest taste discoveries of childhood and deeply rooted in our daily lives with the return of appetizers dinners and evening tapas." Susan Sturman's Summer 2012 article in Cheese Connoisseur, "The Napolean of Cheese: Roland Barthelemy is a Force to be Reckoned With," provides more information on Barthelemy's background and accomplishments.
Cathy Strange Whole Foods Market, USA
Cathy Strange joined Whole Foods Market in 1990 and has a wealth of food industry experience and expertise. Cathy is currently the Vice President of Specialty, Product Development and Innovation. She is recognized as an authority at detecting international food trends during her travels around the world while seeking out producer partners that meet Whole Foods Market’s strict Quality Standards. Cathy works diligently with artisan producers to help them sustain a profitable business.
Cathy Strange is a member of the American Cheese Society, the Oldway’s Cheese Coalition, the Cheese Importers Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Slow Foods USA, the International Dairy, Deli, Dairy and Bakery Association and Les Dames d’Escoffier. Her palette and expertise have been solicited all over the world to serve as judge. Including the American Cheese Society competition, the World Championship Cheese Contest, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, the World Cheese Awards and the British Cheese Awards. She serves as New World President and an ambassador for the distinguished international Guilde des Fromagers de Saint-Uguzon, the most celebrated association of cheese mongers and specialists in France. Cathy has also been awarded the French Order of Agricultural Merit and is the only American and non-Italian to have received the “Coltellino d’oro” from the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano. In 2015, she was honored by the American Cheese Society with the Lifetime Service Award.
David Gremmels Rogue Creamery, USA
David Gremmels, president of Rogue Creamery, leads a mission driven b-corporation in rural Southern Oregon that makes the “best cheese in the world” – and he has the award to prove it. In 2019, his signature Rogue River Blue was named the annual winner at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy. This prestigious award was a crowning moment in a long line of previous regional and national awards for his specialty blue cheeses that are handmade using organic, grass-based milk. This was the first-ever win for an American cheesemaker, giving U.S. artisan cheesemakers a new foothold on the world cheese stage. In 2022, David’s work, leadership and passion to the cheese industry, sustainability and organic agriculture were recognized by the American Cheese Society’s Life Time Achievement Award and Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences highest honor, the Hall of Fame award.
David’s lifelong love of animals, the environment, and fresh food took root as a youngster growing up on a farm in the temperate rainforests surrounding Thurston County, Washington. After career stints in the food industry, he decided to become an entrepreneur. His idea for a wine-and-cheese bar led him to Rogue Creamery in 2002. This visit changed the course of his life. Instead of a restaurant, David took the helm of Rogue Creamery, and over the last two decades, has led with creative acumen and innovative recipes.
A true steward of the land, David’s steadfast mission has been to honor traditional cheesemaking processes while promoting sustainability and community. Rogue Creamery has been certified organic by Oregon Tilth since 2008, Oregon’s first certified B-Corporation since 2013, and number one 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon in 2022/23 and recognized in top 100 Best for over a decade (Top Ten in 2018 & 2020, 2021, 2022). In 2018, Rogue Creamery partnered with France-based Savencia Fromage and Dairy to expand its unique offering worldwide. He serves as Head of Sustainable and Regenerative Business Strategy for Savencia USA.
David has championed many organizations dedicated to small artisan cheesemakers and food service. He established the first Oregon Cheese Festival in 2004, an annual event that now draws thousands of attendees and hundreds of regional artisan cheesemakers and food producers to Southern Oregon every spring. He has served as president and chairman of the American Cheese Society, board member for the Specialty Foods Foundation Association and the Oregon Sustainability Board, and founder of the Oregon Cheese Guild and Festival and co-founder of the New World Chapter of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. He currently serves on Oregon Sustainable Board, Oregon Tourism Commission, American Cheese Society Governance Committee, New World Chapter of the Guilde des Fromagers board and Oregon State University’s Sustainable Food Science, Technology and Engineering Advisory Board.
Will Studd Studd Enterprizes, Australia
Will Studd has been working with specialist cheese for more than five decades. During that time, he has done much to promote a greater understanding of what cheese with an authentic taste of place is all about, and championed the cause of traditional cheeses made from raw milk.
Will is the author of two comprehensive books on cheese, as well as the executive producer of Cheese Slices, a unique award winning television show focused on artisanal cheese. Since the show’s premiere in 2002, Will has filmed hundreds of dairies and cheesemakers in over two dozen countries and the show is watched by viewers worldwide.
Will has been internationally recognised for his achievements and contribution. He was invited to join the Guilde de Fromagers in 1978 at a ceremony in London, and his awards include the prestigious rank of Officier’of the Ordre National du Mérite Agricole for services to French Agriculture.
In recent years, he has created a 'Will Studd’ selection of cheeses, each one carefully chosen for its provenance with help from siblings Ellie and Sam Studd These are available in Australia and USA.
Stephanie Ciano World's Best Cheeses, USA
Stephanie Ciano has been a cheese professional for going on 28 years. She started in the cheese industry just out of college with a dual major from Tulane University in New Orleans in French and Economics by joining the family business, Crystal Food Import Corp, founded by her father, John Ciano, in 1969. She quickly made the effort to learn all she could about cheese and led educational trips around Europe visiting dairies starting 1998 taking customers and sales staff to visit the cheese producers. She has lead tours to dairies in USA, France, England, Italy, and Spain thus far.
In 2000, Stephanie was inducted into the Confrerie Les Degusteux de Chieuv d’ Selles, a cheese brotherhood in Selles sur Cher, France for promoting Authentic French Cheeses in the USA and for building relationships in cheese between France and the USA. Stephanie is bilingual in French and English. In 2002, Stephanie was inducted as Garde et Jure into the International Guilde des Fromagers at the French Embassy in New York, and was promoted to Prudhomme in 2010 at the French Opera in Paris. Stephanie was recently promoted to Ambassador of the Guilde des Fromagers New World Chapter in June 2022.
Stephanie is currently working with World's Best Cheeses as the Vice President in charge of International Purchasing and oversees imports from 16 different countries on both Ocean and Air freight programs as well as key account management and artisan domestic purchasing. Stephanie also serves as an experienced International Cheese Judge; judging such competitions as the American Cheese Society, World Cheese Awards, Irish Dairy Awards, and Australian Grand Dairy Awards. Stephanie is currently the President of the American Cheese Education Foundation (ACEF), the 501C3 arm of the American Cheese Society to promote educational opportunities in cheese. Stephanie is a Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) as certified by the American Cheese Society.
Yannick Achim Yannick Fromagerie, Canada
Yannick Achim had just graduated from a university in the field of economic science when he had the opportunity to acquire a small business under the name: Fromagerie du Marché in Saint-Jérôme. He already had an interest in cheeses, so he made a leap for it.
His passion brought him around Europe, going from France, Belgium, passing by England, Italy and Switzerland in the quest for the most refined products and artisan cheese makers. Bringing back with him their passion and their dedication and savoir faire. He also travelled throughout Quebec in search of the best local product.
Throughout the years, Yannick has proven his entrepreneurial skills and leadership with 5 fromageries under his supervision, located in the Laurentians, Montreal and Quebec City.
His implications in the cheese world are numerous. To name a few, he has participated as jury for different events and contests like: Sélection Caseus des fromages fins du Québec ; International des fromages de chèvre de France ; Concours général agricole à Paris ; Caseus Montanus en France ; Sélection Caseus Award en Belgique ; International Caseus Award à Lyon (France) and let’s not forget his implication twice as a jury member for the American Cheese Society in Madison and Burlington.
Being marchand-fromager is a specialised career in which Yannick believes in but it is also a passion that has led him to meet and exchange with the best cheese making artisans.