Charles Leary, Ph.D. and Vaughn J. Perret, M.A. Principals of the company were among the first group of North Americans inducted into the French Guilde des fromagers during a special ceremony at the American Cheese Society meeting in Madison, Wisconsin in 1994. Experienced as farmstead cheese makers, affineurs, marketers, and resterateurs, including establishing innovative wine and cheese programs, principals of the firm designed and built creameries in Louisiana and Nova Scotia, Canada and managed both dairy goat and dairy sheep operations, including dairy sheep importations into both the U.S. and Canada. From 1990 to 1998 they operated Chicory Farm in Mount Hermon, Louisiana - the SBIR awardee referenced here. Chicory Farm produced some of the most celebrated American artisanal cheeses of the 1990s, including products from every major cheese category, i.e. pasta filata, soft and surface ripened, washed-rind, pressed, hard-pressed and from cow, goat, and sheep milk. In 1995, they opened their own New Orleans restaurant, the Chicory Farm Cafe, which featured their cheeses both in cooking and in cheese courses. Chicory Farm also won a competitive research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for reserach in sustainable dairy sheep production for tropical and sub-tropical conditions, leading to the award of the first annual Tibbetts Award from the Small Business Administration, a national honor. Perret and Leary educated themselves in cheese production over many years, however they came from substantial professional and educational backgrounds. They worked closely with Richard Graham at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to develop sanitary and inspection protocols for small cheese plants. At Chicory Farm, they both produced their own goat and sheep milk, and purchased cow's milk from a nearby small dairy farmer. Leary attended the Washington State University Cheesemaking Short Course, and both investigated French cheese production and marketing in France, including Loire goat cheese production under the auspices of ITOVIC and a special inspection of Androuet's famed cheese shop and restaurant in Paris. Chicory Farm cheese became renowed in the U.S., particularly due to their application of French cheese production and affinage techinques in the Louisiana environment. * Chicory Farm cheese were served by many of the top restaurants in the country, including not only New Orleans favorites like Emeril's, Brigsten's, and Commander's Palace, but also Picholine, Le Bernardin, and Gramercy Tavern in New York, the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, Everest in Chicago, and Bacchanalia in Atlanta. * Chicory Farm cheese were featured at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado and at a Mobil 5-Diamond Chef Awards Dinner * Chicory Farm's Catahoula was named one of the two favourite American cheeses of Max McCalman, then of the restaurant Picholine in New York. (Interview with Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 1997) * * Chicory Farm's cheeses selected by Marrion Burros, New York Times, for her 1996 Christmas gift recommendations: "From CHICORY FARM comes an interesting assortment of cheeses. Catahoula is for those who like cheese that's sharp, smelly and creamy; Orleans is not unlike Brie -- soft and buttery; St. John is a semi-soft cheese of cow's and goat's milk or cow's and sheep's milk. " * * Chicory Farm cheese exhibited at the Fancy Food Show, 1994, along with the French cheeses of Chantal Plasse. * * Catahoula singled out by Murray's Cheese Shop owner Rob Kaufelt, New York Times, 1995 * * Chicory Farm became member of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade: "the Fancy Food Show can also be counted on for some good, new, serious products . . . worth noting were . . . distinctive Chicory Farm cheeses made in Mount Herman, La. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 1995. "Cheeses? Capriole introduced Piper's Moon, a soft-ripening Camembert-style chevre. An excellent whole-milk mozzarella and a mild Gruyere-style St. Helena were new from Chicory Farm. " Florence Fabricant, New York times, 1996 * The French cheese buyer for Dean & Deluca declared, upon tasting Chicory Farm cheeses in 1995, "the Americans have finally learned to make cheese." Leary and Perret then sold Chicory Farm went on the found the Acadian Farm Creamery in southern Nova Scotia. Here they acheived approval both from provincial authorities and from the federal Canadian Food Inspection Agency for a new artisianal cheese plant working with goat and cow's milk. Among the cheese produced here were a natural raw cow's milk blue cheese. Marq DeVilliers writing in Food & Wine magazine noted: "It is mature, aged for two years, every bit as good as a high-end Stilton. The cheese is made from unpasteurized local milk and from molds that exist naturally on the farm, giving the cheese a unique character." They also made natural-rind pressed cheeses featured by the National Post. They closed the creamery to focus on their work at Trout Point Lodge in 2002, where cheeses are featured in cooking and in cheese courses, and they offer short courses on cheesemaking and appreciation. At Trout Point they have also developed a program on cheese and wine pairing, using the Lodge's 120+ bottle wine list. They have published recipes in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Food & Wine, Harrowsmith Country Life, and Louisiana Cookin'. Their first cookbook was published by Random House in 2004 to critical praise. Charles Leary has an honors undergraduate degree from Kenyon College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Vaughn Perret received his B.A. from Loyola University, an M.A. from Tulane University, and his Juris Doctorate from Cornell. They have worked as culinary instructors since 2000.