Profiles introduce readers to producers, researchers, consultants, and sellers whose livelihoods bring them into contact with microbial foods on a daily basis.

Profile: Cecilia Garmendia – Scientist and Cheesemaker

Artisanal cheesemaking and science may appear to have little in common. “Not so!” according to Cecilia Garmendia who has translated her Ph.D. to cheesemaking and business ownership.

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Book Profile: Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese

Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese is a book that, like itself, was directly inspired by time spent collaborating with Benjamin Wolfe at the Dutton Lab in early 2014. Returning to London with a new appreciation for the power of microbial communities in shaping the flavors of the food that we eat, I was eager to start a conversation within the cheese industry. I wanted to see more cheesemakers enhance the flavor of their cheeses by encouraging healthy microbial communities native to their farms to play an active role in the cheesemaking process. [click to view the full story]

Profile: Cortney Burns – Chef/Owner, Motze

Cortney Burns and her husband and co-chef Nick Balla led the team at Bar Tartine in San Francisco’s Mission District for almost six years before departing at the end of 2016 to start their new restaurant, Motze. The unique style that they developed at Bar Tartine and continue at Motze combines ingredients and techniques from around the world with a focus on processing all their ingredients themselves, including the widespread and creative use of microbial foods. We caught up with Cortney in September 2016 to talk about her approach to cooking and microbe wrangling. [click to view the full story]

Profile: Arielle Johnson – Head of Research, MAD

Arielle Johnson manages the research program for MAD in Copenhagen, Denmark. MAD is a non-profit organization founded by chef Rene Redzepi, devoted to improving both the practical and theoretical understanding of food. Arielle entered the food industry with a PhD in flavor chemistry and perception, but her interests and work are wide-ranging, encompassing new techniques for the kitchen and, of course, fermentation management. In her own words, “My role within the organization is to sort through the existing body of scientific knowledge and find things that we can apply to make the creative process more creative.” [click to view the full story]

Profile: Jeremy Ogusky – Culturing Fermentation Culture in Boston

Across the globe, local communities are forming fermentation communities – groups that meet to teach each other techniques and build a sense of community over delicious microbial foods. Over the past five years, a local potter in Boston, Massachusetts, has helped organize and educate a rapidly growing fermentation community. In this guest post, Maria Ordovas, explores how a fermentation culture is being formed in Boston. [click to view the full story]

Profile: Mitja Sirk — Artisan vinegar maker

The Sirk family own and run the Trattoria La Subida outside the town of Cormons in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, nestled in the hills only a few miles from the Italian-Slovenian border. Led by Mitja’s father, Josko, the Sirks ferment their local Ribolla Gialla grapes into a very unusual and delicious long-macerated and barrel-fermented wine vinegar.  [click to view the full story]

Profile: Hosta Hill – farmers, fermenters, and mold tamers

In an unassuming basement tucked in the hills of the Berkshires, Maddie Elling and Abraham (Abe) Hunrichs rot vegetables and grow mold. As “partners in business and partners in life,” their company Hosta Hill is providing farmers’ markets and stores in Massachusetts with some of the finest vegetable ferments and tempeh in the region. In this Profile, I’ll share what I learned at Hosta Hill about taming tempeh molds, the challenges of artisan fermentation production, and the joys of growing raw materials for fermentation.

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Profile: Nicholas Bokulich – Using new technology to understand traditional foods

During his PhD research in the Mills Lab at the University of California Davis, Nicholas (Nick) Bokulich completely transformed how we view the microbial diversity of many fermented foods in the US. From wine to cheese to sake, Nick’s research opened up new dimensions of the microbial diversity of these traditional foods. In this Profile, Nick talks about improvements in DNA-sequencing technology, terroir, and the future of food microbiology.

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Profile: Sayer Dion – Microbiologist at Jasper Hill

In the Fall of 2013, the Cellars at Jasper Hill built a state-of-the-art microbiology lab inside of their expansive cheese aging facility in Greensboro, Vermont. In June of 2014, Sayer Dion joined the Jasper Hill team as the first on-site microbiologist in the United States working on artisan and farmstead cheeses. I talked to Sayer about what projects she is working on in her new position as well as how her background as a home brewer and former employee of White Labs influences her approach to cheese microbiology. [click to view the full story]

Profile: Julie Cheyney – Maker of St Jude Cheese

Julie Cheyney makes a raw-milk lactic cow’s milk cheese called St Jude in Hampshire, UK. Before starting to make St Jude, Julie was on the team that developed Tunworth, a Camembert-style cheese that won Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards in 2006. We spoke with her about making raw milk cheese and the microbes that play a role in the process.
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