cheese journeys/teacher - Chuck Kellner
Chuck Kellner was born and raised in New Jersey, where he began a high stress career in the technology industry. His interest in food, wine & cheese developed when he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he fell in love with West Marin and the Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station. His “aha moment” in cheese came during a presentation in Napa by Oxbow cheesemonger Lassa Skinner, cofounder of Culture Magazine. Listening to Lassa talk, he realized that the same cheeses he knew and loved tasted quite different, and much more complex, when he knew about the farmers, their animals and the back story. His desire to share his love for all things cheese by educating others as to the unique story behind each cheese became his passion. He feels strongly that knowing how various artisan cheeses are made can foster an individual’s greater appreciation for taste and quality.
He completed the UC Berkeley Extension/College of Marin Artisan Cheesemaking Certificate Program, taught in part by Daphne Zepos of Essex Cheese. She steered him to The San Francisco Cheese School where he took the Master Intensive Cheese Education Program, and met Peggy Smith and Debra Dickerson of Cowgirl Creamery. He joined Cowgirl as a cheesemonger shortly thereafter. In an effort to continually expand his knowledge Chuck never passes up an opportunity to attend, or present at, a cheese pairing event.
Chuck has always enjoyed getting to know the cheesemakers and farmers because their enthusiasm for their work matched his. An avid traveler, Chuck seeks out local artisan cheesemakers wherever he travels to hear their unique stories. This has included finding a delightful 80 year old goat cheese farmer who makes an award winning guava wood smoked chevre in Honokaa, Hawaii. He also sought out the origin of Paski Sir, the cheese that won a gold medal at the World Cheese Competition and is made only on the tiny windswept island of Pag in Croatia.
Chuck is a member of the American Cheese Society and the California Artisan Cheese Guild. He has worked at the annual California Artisan Cheese Festival. He loves to create new educational opportunities around cheese. This is Chuck’s first trip with Cheese Journeys, but not his last.
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