Steven Ralph Jerman
Utah Cheese Awards
PO Box 521837
Salt Lake City, UT 84132-1837
Telephone: (435) 213-5444
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nascent Utah cheese contest completes it’s first judging.
AUGUST 28, 2017 – SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Cheese Awards, the state’s first cheese plate food competition, founded in March of this year completed judging August 22 at Caputo’s Market in downtown Salt Lake City. Sixty-nine entries representing 15 companies from Cache to Iron counties entered cheese, charcoutiere, breads, sauces and chocolates. The organization awarded 30 medals and a best of show in both cheese and non-cheese categories.
Founder and organizer Steve Jerman assembled a panel of judges with a balance of cheese and culinary knowledge as well as age and worldly experience. “To be something different, I felt I should break from the ‘usual suspects’ and big-name food writers to give opinions more in line with the majority of non-industry consumers. I also picked people who I thought were good, pleasant and fun to be around.”, he said.
The judges were Trent Harris, a Utah-born film maker who Independent Film and Video Magazine called “one of America’s premier cult directors”, and Tosha Rustad who is the pastry chef at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City and previously the cafe manager of Caffe Ibis’ coffee shop in Logan, Utah. Julie Kelso a former cheesemonger in the greater Chicago area and now a reporter for Utah Public Radio filled in for a judge caught in Idaho eclipse traffic.
Despite the exploratory nature of the project, Jerman reports he experienced a surprisingly large amount of “pushback” from certain people in the food community. He guessed they were reacting to the newness of the event combined with the strength of the branding. “Previously I’ve experienced situations where people thought they owned something, particularly with my licensing of the art of Everett Ruess. But, jeez – it’s cheese. It’s ancient and world wide. I couldn’t understand how anyone who believed in free enterprise and supported the industry could have a problem with it.”, he explained.
Continuing he notes his website states “Utah Cheese Awards . . . is not associated with any particular cheese maker, food producer, wholesaler, retailer, corporation, person or entity.” However he says that he is optimistic, that going forward, it will be embraced. A musician once told Jerman to ‘play to the people in the room’. “I was very happy with the quality of the companies submitting”, he concluded.
The award winners will be announced October 28 at Church & State in Salt Lake City, where the first annual Utah Cheese Awards Expo-fest will be held. The one day event will consist of a market of Utah-based fine food suppliers and related organizations, cheese-based ready-to-eat foods and entertainment. The event is free, and sponsored in part by the Dairy Council of Utah and Nevada. More information can be found on the web at Utahcheese.info.