counter culture hosts multi-day educational seminars across the country for professionals in the cheese and specialty food industries. 

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Education

From science, to culture, to language to marketing to economics—cheese and charcuterie are endlessly complex, but educational opportunities for mongers are frustratingly limited.

Partnering with a diverse roster of makers and industry leaders, we provide an accessible, evolving curriculum that connects attendees directly with experts, tastings, professional resources, community growth and other vital development opportunities.

During two full days, counter culture hosts classes on cheese and charcuterie science, history and pairing, while cheesemakers from around the world present what they do.

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tasting

If you’re coming to counter culture, get hungry. With up to twelve presenters guiding tastings of cheese and charcuterie —well, that’s a lot of food.

In-between presentations, be sure to save room for what’s on our Tasting Table; all day, it’s completely stocked full of samples and snacks from a range of companies. From nut butters to pickles to crackers and preserves, it’s the place to sniff out new products for your shop, experiment with cheese pairings, or just snack for the sake of it.

Bonus: we also feed you lunch with an educational twist.

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COMMUNITY + ALUMNI

Cheese people are the best people. At the very least, counter culture is an opportunity to get all of these people under one roof.

In addition to classroom time, we host happy hours and a separate Mingle with the Maker event after the first day where you can peruse more samples and mingle with our expert group of presenters. Most importantly, you’ll get to know other mongers and cheese professionals from your city and region, forming networks you can build on in the future.

We also keep in touch with you with monthly newsletters and offering access to a growing online resource full of learning materials and additional opportunities.

 photo by:  the mobile monger

our team

  Lassa Skinner, Executive Director   Lassa’s cheese life began in Boston in the mid-’90s behind the counter at Formaggio Kitchen. She  moved west to settle in California, where she ran the St. Helena Farmers Market and Napa’s Downtown Chef’s Market before opening the Oxbow Cheese Merchant. In 2007, Lassa co-founded culture, a general consumer magazine devoted to inspiring and educating the cheese-loving public. She is determined to ensure that everyone working in cheese and specialty foods not only enjoys what they do but keeps learning, growing and building these industries by recognizing the value of community, and embracing individuals’ skills and unique talents.

Lassa Skinner, Executive Director

Lassa’s cheese life began in Boston in the mid-’90s behind the counter at Formaggio Kitchen. She  moved west to settle in California, where she ran the St. Helena Farmers Market and Napa’s Downtown Chef’s Market before opening the Oxbow Cheese Merchant. In 2007, Lassa co-founded culture, a general consumer magazine devoted to inspiring and educating the cheese-loving public. She is determined to ensure that everyone working in cheese and specialty foods not only enjoys what they do but keeps learning, growing and building these industries by recognizing the value of community, and embracing individuals’ skills and unique talents.

  Kara Kaminski-Killiany, Program Director   Kara brings a decade of experience growing innovative programs from concept to scale to her role as Director of Program Development. Kara has worked across several continents, breaking down and translating complex information into digestible learnings that are in turn used to educate on food security and systems. Her dream is to be able to make the complex American dairy economy digestible for those who work in the industry and beyond and she’s always ready to discuss the pros and cons of milk pricing in the US. For Kara, cheese exists at the intersection of her specialities as well as the many layers of our domestic food system. Outside of her educational work and activism, Kara is a cheesemaker in Grand Rapids, Michigan who loves experimenting with all of the beers and ciders her great state has to offer.

Kara Kaminski-Killiany, Program Director

Kara brings a decade of experience growing innovative programs from concept to scale to her role as Director of Program Development. Kara has worked across several continents, breaking down and translating complex information into digestible learnings that are in turn used to educate on food security and systems. Her dream is to be able to make the complex American dairy economy digestible for those who work in the industry and beyond and she’s always ready to discuss the pros and cons of milk pricing in the US. For Kara, cheese exists at the intersection of her specialities as well as the many layers of our domestic food system. Outside of her educational work and activism, Kara is a cheesemaker in Grand Rapids, Michigan who loves experimenting with all of the beers and ciders her great state has to offer.

  Rachel Freier, ACS CCP, Culinary Specialist   Rachel is a cheese and culinary professional. She will talk about microbes, rinds, and how to cook with cheese for as long as you let her. Rachel worked as a restaurant manager for many years until she discovered her true calling. She was part of the opening crew for Murray’s Cheese Bar on Bleecker St.,developing their cheese and beverage program over the course of four years. Rachel created Murray’s Cheese Bar Monger’s Table, a 10-course cheese tasting menu paired with beverages, which inspired her current culinary path. Currently Rachel produces pop-up cheese dinners, writes cheese-focused recipes, and sells cheese to chefs in her current role as Food Service Specialist for FMA.

Rachel Freier, ACS CCP, Culinary Specialist

Rachel is a cheese and culinary professional. She will talk about microbes, rinds, and how to cook with cheese for as long as you let her. Rachel worked as a restaurant manager for many years until she discovered her true calling. She was part of the opening crew for Murray’s Cheese Bar on Bleecker St.,developing their cheese and beverage program over the course of four years. Rachel created Murray’s Cheese Bar Monger’s Table, a 10-course cheese tasting menu paired with beverages, which inspired her current culinary path. Currently Rachel produces pop-up cheese dinners, writes cheese-focused recipes, and sells cheese to chefs in her current role as Food Service Specialist for FMA.

 
  Amy Fukuizumi, Marketing & Communications   Amy  helps to build, plan and execute counter culture seminars across the country. She’s a writer, creator, and lover of cheese, simplicity, organizational efficiency, and storytelling. Her career spanned a few different industries—including construction and corporate gaming—before she started living out her cheese dreams with culture in 2015. Originally from Northern California, she now calls Newmarket, New Hampshire home.

Amy Fukuizumi, Marketing & Communications

Amy  helps to build, plan and execute counter culture seminars across the country. She’s a writer, creator, and lover of cheese, simplicity, organizational efficiency, and storytelling. Her career spanned a few different industries—including construction and corporate gaming—before she started living out her cheese dreams with culture in 2015. Originally from Northern California, she now calls Newmarket, New Hampshire home.

 
 
 
 

counter culture is sponsored in part by:

 

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (formerly Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board or WMMB) is a non-profit organization funded entirely by Wisconsin's dairy farm families. Our goal is to increase the sale and consumption of Wisconsin milk and dairy products.

Since the mid-1800s, before Wisconsin was recognized as a state, the resident cheesemakers have been putting the art into artisan cheese – producing 48% of all specialty cheese made in the USA.  Wisconsin is home to 1,200 licensed cheesemakers who draw from their rich European heritage and cheesemaking traditions, and combine it with incredible innovation to produce over 600 cheese varieties, types and styles. Wisconsin is the nation’s leader in the production of unique specialty and artisan cheeses including international award-winners, known as Wisconsin originals.

Wisconsin was the first state to establish cheese grade standards, and the first to require that every cheese plant be overseen by a licensed cheesemaker.  It is also the only place outside Europe where one can pursue an elite Master Cheesemaker certification.

For more information, visit the website at WisconsinCheese.com or take the Cheesecyclopedia® training course where you'll learn the fine points of dairy and cheese products.