Mona Talbott, the entrepreneurial driving force behind Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions has over 25 years experience in the culinary industry. She began her cooking career as a camp cook in remote logging camps in her native Canada, formalizing her training at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon where, in 1993, Talbott graduated with highest honors.
Five years as a cook at the highly acclaimed Chez Panisse cafe and restaurant instilled a passionate philosophy and appreciation of fresh, seasonal ingredients and simple, well-prepared food. Upon leaving Chez Panisse, Talbott launched Mona Talbott Catering and began cooking exclusively for “A” list private clients and catering events both in the United States and Europe working within the fine arts, media and entertainment industry.
Her ongoing collaboration on special culinary projects with Alice Waters eventually led her to Italy, where, from 2006-2011, she was the founding Executive Chef at the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome.
She has written and published two cookbooks: Biscotti and Zuppe: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome, and contributed to over ten cookbooks authored by notable chefs. In 2010, Talbott was included in COCO, 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs and, most recently, contributed 50 recipes to Amy Goldman’s forthcoming book, Heirloom Peppers. Mona has published recipes and written articles for the New York Times, Saveur, Bon Appetit, and Organic Cooking.
Kate Arding is an internationally recognized authority on cheese with over 20 years of experience in the farmhouse cheese industry. Her work encompasses cheesemongering, sales and marketing, infrastructure management for small-scale cheese businesses, affinage (cheese maturation), publishing and teaching. She is a keynote speaker at regional and national conferences.
Kate’s cheese career began at Neal’s Yard Dairy, London, UK in 1993 where she developed a thorough understanding of what it takes for cheesemakers and retailers to create and sustain profitable businesses. In 1997, Kate was recruited by Cowgirl Creamery & Tomales Bay Foods, the award winning cheese retailer and cheesemaker, to be their Head Cheesemonger and Cheese Buyer at their newly formed company in Marin County, California. In 2008, Kate co-founded the ground-breaking consumer print and online cheese magazine Culture: The Word on Cheese.
Kate’s consulting work has influenced agricultural agencies, cheese producers and retailers around the globe, working in places as diverse as Uganda, Ecuador, the Netherlands and Macedonia. A member of the Board of Directors for the American Cheese Society (ACS), and Co-Chair of the ACS’s Regulatory and Academic Committee, Kate also regularly judges at many U.S. and international competitions. In 2011, she was inducted into the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, where she was especially recognized for her work within the artisanal cheese industry, both in the U.S and overseas.
Kate is an area editor of the Oxford Companion to Cheese (Oxford University Press, 2015). As an industry spokesperson and sought-after expert, Kate has appeared on The Martha Stewart Living Show, Heritage Radio Network and has been regularly featured in national and international press, including the San Francisco Chronicle, The LA Times, The Times (UK). As a contributing writer, editor and photographer, Kate’s work on cheesemakers and the cheesemaking process has been published in media outlets worldwide.