2019 Judging

2019 Judges

Russell SmithRussell Smith - Chief Judge

Russell Smith travels nationally and internationally educating on Australian cheese. His particular specialty and interest lies in providing cheese sensory training and cheese education for retailers, consumers, chef and restaurateurs and the list goes on. 

After being Deputy Chief Judge of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards for the past 14 years, Russell has now stepped up to the position of Chief Judge.

Originally a scientist, Russell took a career change - buying a deli and becoming a cheese specialist in the nation’s capital. His curiosity with cheese led him to eventually devote himself to learning and educating about Australian cheese.

Russell is also the chief judge at the Royal Queensland Dairy Show and an Australian judge for the World Cheese Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.

Mark LivermoreMark Livermore - Deputy Chief Judge

Mark has been grading and judging Cheese and Dairy Products for over 30 years. He grew up working on dairy farms and in a factory manufacturing products including, milks, yoghurts, custards and the English Cheese varieties. He graduated from the University of Western Sydney (Hawkesbury) after studying Dairy Technology and obtaining his Cheese and Buttermaker’s qualifications. 

As a Field Officer with the NSW Dairy Corporation he has assisted farms and factories on the development and implementation of HACCP systems and product improvement of a range of Italian, Greek and other European Cheeses.

Mark managed a Dairy Factory producing a range of European and English cheeses as well as yoghurts, creams, custard and milks. He has post graduate qualifications in Food Technology from University if NSW and Business Management from Charles Sturt University.

He currently lectures in Food Technology, Food Safety and runs his own Consultancy business. Mark is the Chair of Judges at the Sydney Royal Cheese and dairy Produce Show. 

Tiffany BeerTiffany Beer

Tiffany Beer is passionate about food and especially dairy products. She has been working as a food safety consultant for almost 20 years working across most areas of the food industry, including the manufacture of dairy products including milk, cheese, yoghurt, fermented drinks, dips, ice cream, gelato and speciality dairy based nutritional products. Tiffany mainly works with small and medium sized food businesses often from the initial establishment phase.

She holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Food Technology from UNSW and is constantly learning more about food. Tiffany is also a dairy judge at the Royal Agricultural Society in Sydney.

Garry BakerGarry Baker

Garry has extensive industry experience including product development at Streets, product development then general management at Germantown International and product management at Danisco (now Dupont) – the number one global supplier of ingredient technology to dairy and ice cream industries. In the late 1980s Garry adopted and modified leading USA ice cream judging principles for the NSW RAS initial ice cream competition (the first in Australia and New Zealand). Jointly with peer judges he has enhanced the judging principles used in multiple ice cream and gelato competitions in Australia, New Zealand and India.

Garry has judged for both the DIAA and RAS (NSW,VIC); EKKA (Qld); New Zealand Ice Cream Association; and the All India ice cream competition.

Scott Bolch

Scott Bolch’s career in the dairy industry began in 1993 with the study of Dairy Food Science at the University of Melbourne Gilbert Chandler campus in Werribee. While studying he worked for United Milk Tasmania in cheese-making, as well as gaining experience in powder and WPC production. Scott spent six years with the company before he moved to Launceston as Operations Manager of Hillwood Cheese, and was heavily involved in the expansion and growth of this small business to become one of Australia's largest Fetta producers.

Scott joined Chr. Hansen in 2002 as Technical Sales Manager in Dairy where his attention was focused in servicing large cheese operations across a number of cheese varieties. Scott gained a significant knowledge of Starter Cultures and Enzyme Technologies while at Chr Hansen.

Currently Scott holds the position at Chr Hansen of Technical Manager Cheese for ANZ.

Sonia CousinsSonia Cousins

In 2005, Sonia Cousins traded science and technology for cheese, and has since worked as a cheesemonger in both Sydney and Newcastle. In addition, she runs a cheese education a consulting business called Cheese The Day, which presents cheese appreciation classes for the public, and workshops covering cheese sensory evaluation for industry professionals. She also contributes cheese-related articles to various consumer and industry publications in Australia and overseas.

Sonia is an active member of the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers’ Assocation (ASCA), and a passionate advocate for artisan cheese producers, particularly in New South Wales. In addition to AGDA, her judging credits include the Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show, Royal Queensland Cheese & Dairy Produce Show, Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards, and New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

Gina DalSantoGina Dal Santo

Gina is passionate about cheese. A food technologist and lecturer with Adelaide’s TAFE SA, Gina was instrumental in the creation of the Artisan Cheese Making Academy Australia in August 2012.

Gina has judged cheese and dairy competitions around Australia and has also attended cheese sensory and judge training in Wisconsin, USA. She is also the President of the South Australian division of the Dairy Industry Association of Australia (DIAA), a member of the Australian Institute of Food Science Technology (AIFST) and a board member of the Dairy Authorities of South Australia. Gina is also the head judge at the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards Cheese and Dairy Competition and the Royal Perth Cheese and Dairy Show.

Gina works at Adelaide Central Market’s ‘Say Cheese’ and spends her spare time refining methods of cheese-making and developing new cheese recipes. Gina was just recently awarded a Church Hill Scholarship to develop a centre for cheese education creating a paddock-to-plate Artisan Cheese Industry. Her project will include a visit to several international teaching institutes to observe and review best practice teaching philosophies, methods and educational materials with a focus on Artisan Cheese. 

Ros GarstoneRos Garstone

Ros is a dairy farmer from Margaret River who is passionate about the dairy industry and cheese making.  After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science and Graduate Diploma in Education, Ros worked in food product development before commencing as a Home Economics and Science teacher with the Department of Education in WA in 1992.

In between dairy farming and teaching commitments, Ros completed her first cheese making course in 2004 and has facilitated home cheese making classes in WA in cooperation with Cheeselinks since 2006.  In 2008, she was a recipient of the Dairy Australia Cheesemaker Scholarship.

Ros has volunteered as a farm produce and dairy judge at the Busselton and Margaret River District Shows for many years. She has completed the advanced National Cheese and Dairy Judging Program for cheese and dairy products, and has judged at the DIAA (WA), EKKA (Qld) and RAS (NSW and WA) Shows.

Robyn GrayRobyn Gray

Robyn Gray is currently a business development manager for Symrise, a leading company within the flavour and fragrance Industry. She has been actively involved in the Australian Dairy Industry for over 20 years. As a qualified cheesemaker, with a technical background heavily focussed in ice cream and general dairy textures and, in recent years, flavour delivery systems, she continues to use her expertise in various judging panels throughout Australia, including the annual AGDA awards. 

Meleesa Kavanagh Meleesa Kavanagh

After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science-Biomedical Science (Hons), Meleesa began her career in the food industry and for the past 5 years has been working with Chr Hansen in the Melbourne sales office. She is the team’s Food Cultures and Enzymes applications technologist, and helps develop fermented milk products for industry leaders and boutique creators in the dairy space, also assisting with troubleshooting on a daily basis. Melessa completed the Dairy Judge training course with Russell Smith in May this year and it is her first year judging at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards. 

Christine KorenChristine Koren 

I have been working in the food industry for over 15 years. Originally from Austria, I have been working in the Dairy Industry gaining knowledge as Product Manager for Cheese (White mould and blue vein cheese), yogurts, flavoured milk based drinks and dairy desserts. I immigrated in 2005 to Australia and worked in the Quality Assurance Department of Dairy Factories producing white milks, flavoured milks, yoghurts, sour cream, thickened cream and ice cream. Now I have my own consultancy company helping businesses implementing and optimizing quality systems and food safety programs.

Carlo MasonCarlo Mason

Carlo Mason is a dairy technologist, dairy application specialist, and a genuine foodie with an in-depth knowledge of fermented dairy product manufacturing and formulation. Currently the Business Manager for Cultures and Enzymes at Chr Hansen Australia, the leading global supplier of starter cultures to the cheese, yogurt, smallgoods and wine industries. Carlo has been with Chr Hansen for 14 years, working in technical and commercial positions that have allowed him to travel the world extensively in roles exploring the technical and commercial aspects of the fermented dairy industry. Carlo formerly spent several years in hands-on cheese production roles, scientific research at the Australian Starter Culture Research Centre (currently DIAL) , and Quality Assurance Management in the flavour and fragrance industry.

Carlo’s experience and training has led him to develop a deep understand of the technical and artisanal factors that characterise dairy products, especially fermented fresh dairy products and cheese. At Chr Hansen, Carlo manages the Technical and Commercial Sales team who specialise in supplying starter culture and enzyme technology solutions to Australia’s leading dairy, wine and smallgoods companies. 

Brenda Riley smallBrenda Riley

Brenda Reilly has been involved in the dairy industry in Queensland and Western Australia for 20 years in processing, regulatory and auditing roles. Brenda has judged dairy products in competitions run by the DIAA in WA and Victoria, the Perth Royal Show and the Royal Queensland Show. Brenda currently consults to the food industry on implementing and maintaining food safety programs. 

Jerry RylandJeremy Ryland

Jeremy Ryland is a passionate food professional with more than 40 years’ experience in the Australian food industry. Jeremy has a degree in Food Technology, an MBA in Marketing and a Master of Arts in Gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu, Academie D’Art Culinaire de Paris.

Jeremy has worked in research, manufacturing, hospitality and marketing. He is currently the Brand Development Manager for the ALH Group, who own and operate over 330 hotels in Australia. Jeremy is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Tourism at the University of Queensland. He writes on food and gastronomy for the press and appears regularly on both radio and television, promoting food science, good food and commensality. Jeremy has been a restaurant judge, reviewer and critic for over 20 years and has been judging cheese and dairy for 4 years for the RNA and the RAS. 

Andre SandisonAndre Sandison

Andre is a Head Teacher at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney Culinary Arts Institute. As a qualified pastry chef, dairy is frequently one of the cornerstones of his culinary repertoire. He loves sharing both his passion for the profession and the simple pleasures that come from quality ingredients. In Andre’s words: “teaching students about pastry enables the next generation to put their own signature on the profession.

Dairy provides a classic foundation that a pastry chef respects and appreciates for the distinct textures and flavours it bring to our craft.”

Craig DavisCraig Davis

Craig graduated BSc Hons and holds a PhD in Food Technology from UNSW. He initially worked in academia/research at Massey University in New Zealand and at CSIRO in Canberrra and Sydney.

Since then, Craig has had a number of technical roles in the food industry and is currently working at Dupont Nutrition and Health as a Senior Application Specialist, focusing on all matters technical related to dairy products. Craig’s key interest areas are neutral pH dairy products and frozen desserts. 

Laura Simon

Laura is the National Category Manager for Dairy at Calendar Cheese Company, based in Melbourne. In her role, Laura works closely with Australian and international cheese makers, in maintaining Calendar’s exceptional range of cheeses. Calendar Cheese Company is Australia’s leading supplier of premium cheese, butter, and cream, to restaurants, retailers and caterers. Laura is a 2001 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York with a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts and Management. In her 20 years in the food industry, she has worked as a qualified Chef, Cheesemonger and Quality Controller. In 2012, Laura was inducted into the prestigious Guilde Internationale des Fromagers and conducts cheese education classes for industry and the public.  

Petra SugiartoPetra Sugiarto

Petra Sugiarto has worked at Danisco Australia for more than 10 years in the Innovation department and holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and Master of Applied Science in Food Microbiology from UNSW.

Her particular areas of expertise are fermented dairy products such as yoghurt, quark, fromage frais, sour cream and cheese, and also neutral dairy desserts. Petra has been a judge at the Royal Agricultural Society in Sydney for dairy products including yoghurt, dairy desserts and ice cream.

On the judging panel for DIAA NSW and DIAA Victoria competitions. 

Olivia SuttonOlivia Sutton

Olivia owns a cheese shop in Essenson called Harper & Blohm which opened its doors in March 2014 with the sole purpose of supplying the people of Melbourne with some of the finest cheese the world has to offer. Olivia enjoys getting children involved in trying cheeses in the shop and helping make the cheese selection with their parents as she says “they are the next generation of cheese lovers”.

Since a child Olivia spent most holidays on her family farm on King Island where there has always been a fridge full of cheese! Prior to H&B, Olivia worked for Calendar Cheese Company for 10 years on & off as key account manager to regional Victoria & Tasmania. She also spent a year working in Ireland for Sheridans Cheesemongers.

Bill Tzimas smallBill Tzimas

Once a secondary school teacher, Bill Tzimas decided to follow his passion for fine food and opened Bill’s Farm, a fine food store at the Queen Victoria Market. Twenty-five years later, Bill’s Farm is one of the most acclaimed fine food stores in Melbourne and serves as an avenue for Australia’s cheese-makers, including up and coming new cheese-makers, to showcase their products.

cheese distribution business to cater for the demand for cheese in its best eating condition within the foodservice industry. So much so that Bill has now opened a retail store in Toorak, the Stocked Food Store and another in Malvern, Stocked Malvern.

Bill is a qualified cheese grader and his knowledge and passion for cheese quality is well-utilized in his role as a cheese judge for the Australian Grand Dairy Awards, the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers’ Awards, Adelaide Cheese Fest and the Royal Melbourne Show Dairy Awards.

Peter WislerPeter Wisler

Peter is a qualified Swiss Cheesemaker with over 30 years industry experience. He migrated to Australia in 1993. Peter has worked in a variety of dairy companies in Switzerland, Australia and Thailand, before joining Dupont (formerly Danisco) to focus on starter cultures for the dairy industry among other things. Today, Peter runs his own company, including consulting to dairy companies in the field of R&D, problem solving, process design & improvement, grading and general factory management.

Geraldine WalkerGeraldine Walker

Geraldine Walker is an Applications Leader at Dairy Innovation Australia, a research and development facility servicing the needs of the Australian dairy manufacturing industry.

Since graduating from a Bachelor of Science (Food Science and Technology), she has worked in the Australian dairy industry for 14 years, and during this time has focused on the functional properties of dairy ingredients within food systems. This work has included several successful presentations and demonstrations for Dairy Australia’s Greater China and Japan Scholarship groups.

Geraldine is part of the DIAL sensory team and enjoys working with dairy manufacturers to develop sensory solutions. She has judged at both the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards and the Dairy Industry Association of Australia Awards.

 Garry Baker

Garry has extensive industry experience including product development at Streets, product development then general management at Germantown International and product management at Danisco (now Dupont) – the number one global supplier of ingredient technology to dairy and ice cream industries.

In the late 1980s Garry adopted and modified leading USA ice cream judging principles for the NSW RAS initial ice cream competition (the first in Australia and New Zealand). Jointly with peer judges he has enhanced the judging principles used in multiple ice cream and gelato competitions in Australia, New Zealand and India. Garry has judged at AGDA; DIAA; RAS (NSW,VIC); EKKA (Qld); New Zealand Ice Cream Association; and the All India ice cream competition.

 Garry Baker

Garry has extensive industry experience including product development at Streets, product development then general management at Germantown International and product management at Danisco (now Dupont) – the number one global supplier of ingredient technology to dairy and ice cream industries.

In the late 1980s Garry adopted and modified leading USA ice cream judging principles for the NSW RAS initial ice cream competition (the first in Australia and New Zealand). Jointly with peer judges he has enhanced the judging principles used in multiple ice cream and gelato competitions in Australia, New Zealand and India. Garry has judged at AGDA; DIAA; RAS (NSW,VIC); EKKA (Qld); New Zealand Ice Cream Association; and the All India ice cream competition.

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