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New England Regional Cheese Competition Judges

Lisa Caprera, Pine Grove Mills, PA

Lisa Caprera is currently a master's student of food science at the Pennsylvania State University under Dr. Kerry Kaylegian. Her research has focused on helping farmstead and artisan cheesemakers improve cheese safety, quality, and consistency through training, educational resources, and sensory evaluation. She has worked closely with cheesemakers in Pennsylvania through research and as a volunteer for the Pennsylvania Cheese Guild.

Lisa first became interested in judging cheese through the collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest and has volunteered behind the scenes at the World Championship Cheese Contest, American Cheese Society Contest, and Pennsylvania Farm Show cheese contest. She is a firm believer in the power of sensory evaluation as a tool for troubleshooting and tracking cheese quality. Lisa is honored to return as a judge this year and is awed by all of the talented farmers, cheesemakers, and educators who make great cheese possible.

Phil Peterson, Brookline, NY

Philip Peterson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Early work in foodservice began with fast food, but quickly transitioned to a position at the famed Zingerman's Delicatessen.

His time at Zingerman's sparked a love of food that was nurtured through his time at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), and inspired his next move: At the turn of the century Phil moved to Boston to work with another Zingerman's alum, Rene Becker at his acclaimed bakery, Hi-Rise Bread Co.

From there, he transitioned into the procurement and sales side of the food biz, taking a job with Specialty Foods Boston. At Specialty, along with general management, Peterson focused on meat, cheese and seafood -- sourcing products from as close as his background -- greater New England -- to as far-flung as Europe and Hawaii.

This passion for getting the source of the product continues today in his position as Global Purchaser for our group of restaurants. Phil's days are filled with trips to Maine to pull lobsters out of the ocean, early mornings in New England Produce Center, daily visits to Boston Fish pier, as well as the meat packing center of Newmarket Square. In short; if you want it, Phil will find the best of it for you.

Jim Wallace, Shelburne Falls, MA

I began working for NECS as far back as 2001 with Ricki Carroll and now with her daughter Sarah.

With a background in MicroBiology I became the technical advisor for the company helping customers troubleshoot and solve issues with their cheese production as well as monitoring our cultures and rennet for quality.

In addition I was given the opportunity to follow one of my own special interests in the traditional processes of cheesemaking which soon took me to visit established cheesemakers here in the USA and then in the mountains and valleys of Europe, especially France, Italy, and Switzerland.

Since 2005 I have spent 3-4 weeks every year exploring and writing about the history, people, and traditional cheeses of Europe. With over 100 articles for different cheeses on our website ( to date.
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