Dr. Rachel Dutton, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, UCSD and
Robert Graff of Venissimo’s Academy of Cheese

Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020

Time: 6 PM

Price: The cheese plate cost is $25. The Local Section will cover the first 50 registrations.
Members will only pay for optional expenses of delivery and wine. One 5-cheese plate per household please (enough cheese for two people per plate). Adult must be present to receive wine in person if delivered.

Wine: Sparkling Cava Rose from Spain – $20.

Pickup or Delivery: Cheese plate and wine can be picked up on the Wednesday before or Thursday of the event at the Mission Hills Venissimo store or on Thursday of the event at the Del Mar store. Delivery can be arranged for $10 per address in SD County. We will deliver on Wednesday the day before or Thursday of the event.

Further instruction on pickup/delivery and Zoom links will be provided upon registration.

RSVP: Registration will be open between September 15 – October 1 — Registration limit 100
Ticket holders will be emailed a link for the online zoom meeting on October 5th.



Release your inner nerd and come learn about the science behind cheese. What makes curd separate from whey? What makes certain cheeses stinky? What is blue cheese?
Join Dr. Rachel Dutton, Associate Professor at UCSD, and Rob Graff of Venissimo’s Academy of Cheese for an evening of curducation to answer these questions and more. Dr. Dutton & Rob will take you on an educational and delicious cheese tasting adventure from the comfort of your home.


Rachel Dutton is an Associate Professor of Biology at UC San Diego. Dr. Dutton received her B.Sc. from UC San Diego and her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Harvard Medical School. The Dutton lab is working towards characterizing the diverse species interactions that occur within microbiomes, using simple, experimentally tractable communities such as cheese as model systems. For the past 10 years, the Dutton lab has worked closely with cheesemakers to characterize the diversity of microbes involved in the aging of cheeses. Dr. Dutton has been named an NIH Director’s New Innovator, a Packard Fellow, and a Pew Scholar, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, Wired, NPR, and Netflix. She serves on the Leadership Team for UC San Diego’s Center for Microbiome Innovation.


Robert Graff has been in the cheese industry for 18 years. He began working at Venissimo Cheese in 2008 and he started Venissimo’s Academy of Cheese in 2009. As the head of Venissimo’s Academy of Cheese, Rob works with local restaurants, catering companies and the public to spread the goodness and glory of cheese. Rob also started Veni Voyages in 2016, a division of Venissimo that brings customers to Europe cheese-focused food tours.


Dear ACS Community,

More than thirty days have passed since Governor Newsom issued a stay at home order for Californians, and while many of our members continue to work remotely, there are many who are working hard to get a handle on the pandemic.

First and foremost, I urge you to follow the stay at home order from the Governor, keeping you and your loved ones safe and healthy as possible. In the past several weeks, we have watched the COVID-19 develop into global pandemic and panic buying response. We have been ordered to stay at home to flatten the curve of infections in order to lower the rate of hospitalizations to within the hospital system’s capacity. Still as we navigate uncertain times, the impacts of COVID19 are widespread, yet very uneven across the nation. So please, stay home except for essential reasons when it is absolutely necessary to go out.

The Executive Committee of the American Chemical Society San Diego Local Section decided that we will cancel all in-person meetings and events for May, June and July with the future events to be determined as we see how things play out. We are using Zoom meetings for video meetings for the upcoming months. We have optimistically rescheduled our participation in the EarthFair in Balboa Park for September 13th, 2020.

In light of current social distancing safety precautions, online chemistry resources abound! ACS National has produced a wonderful resource: ACS Efforts and Resources on COVID-19. There the ACS has many options for you to explore. I urge you to check out our websites with FREE content. There are also virtual paid services, for example: ACS@WORK can partner with your organization to bring the most cost-effective professional education to your employees. The ACS is offering technical writing, lab safety, and more, designed for your team.

I have been made aware of several online learning resources for our time spent at home and for teaching children. Many providers have made their services low or no cost. First are the American Chemical Society’s YouTube channels, with the “Reactions” channel being my favorite and it has always been free. Please go online and check it out, there are many hours of chemistry educational entertainment within!

Our next Executive Committee Meeting will take place on Thursday, May 7th, 6 PM, online as a Zoom meeting. As always, all members (this means you) who wish to become more involved or experienced with our Local Section are invited to attend. You will need to contact me at for an invite. Please RSVP so I may add you to the list of attendees.


Thank you,

James Caldwell Ph.D., 2020 Chair
San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society
Email:; Web: