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2020 Judge Spotlight

dave_irishDAVE IRISH
Judging in Logan will be lead by Dave Irish, who is perhaps, the Utahn most knowledgeable about the science and production of cheese. He holds a Master of Science in food safety and quality from Utah State University (USU), and has worked in those fields for some of the largest food processors and cheesemakers in the country.

Closer to home, he has consulted with many of the artisan start-ups that have gone on to be Utah Cheese Awards winners. Currently, he is the manager of USU’s Aggie Creamery which not only produces the well known Aggie Ice Cream, but also several award-winning cheeses, including the Utah Cheese Awards most awarded selection, “Aggiano.”

MIKE RIEDEL
Snapseed copyThe organizer’s first choice for 2020 judges was Mike Riedel. He was born and raised in Salt Lake County where he discovered craft beer in the early 1990s as local breweries began to emerge. He started the Utah Beer Blog in 2005 to advocate for Utah suds (which weren’t getting the attention they deserved.)

Since then he has been honored to judge beer competitions in and out of Utah and is the top “Beer Nerd” at City Weekly, a Utah alt weekly newspaper.

TOSHA RUSTAD
DSC_6687web(1) copyTosha is the founder, co-owner and operator of La Muse d’Or LLC, a limited-service restaurant which operates from the Red Chair Cafe on the University of Utah campus. Prior to fulfilling her dream of owning her own establishment, Tosha served as Director of Café Operations for Caffe Ibis Coffee Roasting Company’s Red Chair Café.

She has worked several positions in the kitchen, including Assistant Pastry Chef alongside Salt Lake City’s own renowned pastry chef and personal pastry mentor, Amber Billingsley at Current Fish and Oyster. With previous years spent as a baker, cake decorator, along with other odd-end jobs before moving into foodservice management, Tosha considers her time spent as Deli Manager for Caffe Ibis in Logan, Utah to be the pivotal moment of her career.

 Cache Valley is where she met one of her greatest inspirations and entrepreneurial idol, founder and previous owner of Caffe Ibis, Sally Sears. By the propel and encouragement of Sally,

Tosha took the First-Place Professional award in 2016 at Logan’s Valentine Chocolate Festival, a benefit event for Planned Parenthood. It was also while working in Logan where she first met Utah Cheese Award’s creator, Steve Jerman. Tosha is honored to have been a judge every year for the Utah Cheese Awards since its inception.

In her free time,

Tosha enjoys hiking, camping, philosophical conversations, long walks in her neighborhood, cooking for friends and family, attending concerts, and spending time at home watching movies with her partner, their deaf cat, and their company mascot, Sierra the pit bull.

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