Sheana is another cheese friend I met via Facebook and then in person at the 2010 ACS Conference in Seattle. Like so many in our cheese community, Sheana has always been approachable and generous with her knowledge, passion and time. I appreciate her taking the time to answer questions for my 2015 Virtual Q and A with Cheese Professionals”
Briefly tell me about yourself. How did you come to cheese? When did you realize you were a cheese geek?
“Being born and raised in Sonoma Valley, I had the pleasure of shadowing my Grandfather who was a chef, where he made everything including cheese. When I went to High School, I had the honor to meet Ig Vella, and he inspired me to work in the cheese business. He generously shared his time with me over the years. I then started working at Farmers Markets and that led me into the marketing with small cheese companies in 1992 I founded The Epicurean Connection.”
Where do you work and what is your job title? Describe a “typical” work day.
“I work at The Epicurean Connection, as a cheesemaker, cheese shop, cafe and catering focusing on cheese platters along with beer, wines and ciders. Not to mention, I can be known as Dish Ninja, Grease Trap Swimmer and The janitor.”
Do you have a favorite cheese or type? What would be your perfect pairing with this cheese?
“I love Love love fresh cheeses. I love a good Buratta with Olive Oil, Balsamic, fresh basil and toasted breads. I would enjoy this with a nice Summer Rose.”
Raw vs. Pasteurized? Does it matter? What difference does it make in the final product?
“Personally I enjoy both raw and pasteurized cheeses. I think a quality milk source, a skilled cheesemaker both raw and pasteurized have their place in the market.”
Should the US create a system similar the European scheme of protecting, controlling and/or regulating specific cheeses?
“Yes, I think as the cheese industry grows, accountability is going to be important to label where the cheese is made, in the US or imported. We have our cheese made a local cheese plant, and I am always glad to share that we have our cheeses made to our recipe by an award winning cheesemaker.”
Tell me about one of your “cheese journeys”. Was it traveling for pleasure or maybe “on the hunt” for an obscure cheese you just had to taste?
“So many cheese travels in 25 years! One of my favorites, if not my favorite was with Gordon Edgar in 2004, to Madison, Wisconsin for the American Cheese Society. We decided to make a week of our trip. It was pre-cell phone era, Gordon and I had been traveling the countryside meeting cheesemakers including Carr Valley, Hooks and many more. We decided to veer off track and visit Uplands Brewery in Indiana, I opened a map, found the town Uplands, drove 4 hours south, only to realize that Uplands Brewery was in Bloomington! We never made it to the brewery, but Gordon still calls me Uplands periodically. When we got back to Madison, we had arranged to rent the presidential suite, we bought on-line for so cheap, we could not pass it up. We then decided to host a beer and cheese tasting for fun, and over 200 people showed up, and yes it was fun! We co hosted with Lucy Saunders who knew all the local brewers and Gordon and I invited cheese makers to bring cheese and was that a party! The next morning, we received a call that we needed to depart from the suite, as Kerry/Edwards Campaign was coming to town, and would like the room, so they paid for our entire weeks hotel, if we agreed to move, no problem! And one last funny note, was we got out of our elevator one day, and we found an award-winning cheese in the elevator lobby, which we handed over the administration for the entry and it won quite an award, we never figured out why it was in the lobby! Fun times in Wisconsin!”
Please share with me one fun, non-cheesy fact about you.
“My fiancé and I have a pizza oven at our house, built by one of my best friends Kirk Mobert and we love to host dinner parties and invite friends over to make a pizza.”
If you could do one thing, anything, all day long, what would it be?
“Eat Cheese & Drink Rose with friends!”
Sheana, again, thanks for taking the time to participate in the 2015 Virtual Q&A with Cheese Professionals!!!
Please visit her website: The Epicurean Connection
Interviews will continue throughout 2015… sometimes, they will be “stand-alone” and sometimes they will be presented as round-table discussions with several Cheese Professionals answering the same question. Those participating includeCheesemakers, ACS CCPs™, Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
List of 2015 Cheese Professionals.
List of all Cheese Professionals Bios.
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