Andy Fitzgerrell is one of the two Cheese Category Specialists at KeHE Distributors and part of the three-person team that runs the category. He got his start in the Cheese industry in 2009 at Whole Foods in Salt Lake City and quickly went down the rabbit hole that is the endless pursuit to know and understand more about what makes cheese so interesting and fun! Since then he has worked as a store level buyer, manager, educator and website content manager for multiple cheese counters across Utah. In 2012, he was part of the inaugural group of 150 people to take the American Cheese Society “Certified Cheese Professional Exam,” and was also 1 of the 120 who passed it. At the 2017 American Cheese Society conference, he was the creator/presenter at 1 of 7 tasting seminars – the pairing of cheese with both chocolate & beer, alongside friends Adam Dick, owner/chocolate maker of Dick Taylor Chocolate and Kevin Crompton (former brewmaster) of Epic Brewing. In 2018, he was part of the inaugural group of people in the cheese industry to take the American Cheese Society “T.A.S.T.E.” exam (Technical, Aesthetic, Sensory, Tasting Exam) and 1 of the 30 to pass and become a “Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator.”
In addition to loving most things food/beverage, he is also a freelance contributor for the Utah independent periodical Slug (Salt Lake Underground) Magazine, where he works as both a photographer and writer.
Mariah Christensen started working at Harmons Grocery in 2005 as a Delicatessen Sales Associate where she had her first taste of Gruyere and was hooked! Mariah is the Specialty Cheese Buyer for Harmons Grocery and directs the selection, education, and experience of the Cheese Department for the company. She is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and ACS Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator.
Harmons is an upscale supermarket chain located within the state of Utah, United States, with 19 stores throughout the Wasatch Front and in the St. George area.
Albert Straus is the Founder and CEO of his company, Straus Family Creamery, and is a pioneer in the Dairy Industry. Mr. Straus’s journey began in 1970 when he returned to his family’s dairy farm after receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Dairy Sciences at Cal Poly. Upon taking over the management of the company, he decided to make change. From stopping the use of herbicides to using a no-till method, his company became the first 100% certified organic creamery in the entire country. His radical and innovative farming practices lent a helping hand in the ever so changing industry.