The Daphne Zepos Teaching Award (DZTA) will grow a squad of cheese professionals who teach about the history, culture and techniques in making, aging and selling cheese. Each year someone new will go forth to learn about cheese. The scholarship will fund travel and living expenses. The winner will return to share their learnings with the cheese community — at the annual American Cheese Society Conference and beyond. The scholarship is funded by the Daphne Zepos Endowment, which is held in the American Cheese Education Foundation. That’s what you are donating to here. Our goal is to raise $250,000 both through this site and by direct investment. By donating to this endowment we ensure that 100% of your money goes to the endowment (minus credit card and site fees). The endowment is managed by a president and board of directors from the cheese industry who work for no pay. The endowment’s funds are safely invested and their annual returns fund the scholarship. With careful management, the scholarship will be offered in perpetuity.
Daphne Zepos was one of the most outspoken, insightful and dynamic advocates for the cause of traditional cheese here in the U.S. and around the world. Over the last twenty years Daphne played a prominent role in nearly every major cheese event in the U.S. and Europe.
She lectured, moderated, and presented at the American Cheese Society’s Annual Conference. She taught at Slow Food’s bi-annual Cheese in Bra, Italy, at the College of Marin, and at courses throughout the country, including the Cheese School of San Francisco, Neal’s Yard Dairy in London and Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor. Over the years she has taught literally thousands of students both professional and vocational, and in the process helped significantly improve the quality of cheese in the U.S. and the knowledge and understanding of cheese mongering in this country.
In 2006, Daphne founded the Essex Street Cheese Company, which imports a small selection of hand-selected cheeses from Europe. Together with her business partner, Kiri Fisher, Zepos and her husband Brad purchased The Cheese School of San Francisco in 2011. It is the only independent institution of its kind in the U.S. dedicated to helping people maximize their enjoyment and appreciation of cheese through education and tasting events.
Daphne served as a board member of the American Cheese Society and did formative work for many years as the Chairperson of the organization’s Annual Judging. She was a co-founder of the Cheese of Choice Coalition, an advocacy group dedicated to the preservation of raw milk and artisan cheeses. From 2002 to 2005, she played a lead role in selecting and maturing more than 300 cheeses in Artisanal Premium Cheese Center’s pioneering affinage cheese caves in Manhattan, established Artisanal’s Affinage Internship Program and, contributed to creating and running Artisanal’s Cheese Master Class program.
Daphne was the recipient of the 2012 American Cheese Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ari Weinzweig, co-founder and CEO of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor noted that “Daphne’s work to educate retailers, chefs, cheese mongers and cheese makers has contributed enormously to a huge improvement in the quality of the cheese on counters across the country. Her passion, the poetry of her cheese descriptions, her never-ending drive for better flavor, for teaching people what makes good cheese good, and for making already-good cheese even better is truly unrivaled.’”
Daphne passed away in San Francisco in the summer of 2012.