2018 WORKSHOPS (Schedule & more)


  • CONTINUOUS KEFIR with Karen Rzepecki 


  • FERMENTATION MAKES YOUR CHOCOLATE BETTER: A discussion on cacao fermentation, quality, and flavor.  with William Mullan
  • MISSION MISO... with Cheryl Paswater
  • HOW TO MAKE VINEGAR with Michael Harlan Turkell


  • MEAD MAKING PANEL with Bob Slanzi, Vicki Rowe, Sergio Moutela
  • BREWING (SOUR) BEER with Stephen Valand and Steve Walano of Brooklyn Brew Shop
  • SCIENCE MEETS FERMENTATION: A DISCUSSION with Camille Delebecque of eatCultured  


About the Presenters:

Adam Elabd                Workshop: Fermenting in Natural Materials       12:00pm

Adam is lead brewer and co-owner of Yesfolk Tonics in Upstate, NY. Yesfolk is a microbrewery that specializes in probiotics, craft fermented beverages such as kombucha, water kefir, and ginger beer.

He is also an educator in the fields of fermentation, natural healing and nutrition and the author of a full length recipe book on fermentation: Fermenting Food Step-by-Step. His style and technique are informed by his Egyptian descent, childhood in Saudi Arabia and background as an herbalist.



John LaPolla                  Workshop: Hops Everyone's Favorite Flower    12:00pm

John LaPolla is co owner of Bitter & Esters in Brooklyn NY.

A homebrewer since 1992, John and his friend Douglas founded Bitter & Esters in July of 2011 as a homebrew supply shop, brew on premises location and classroom space. Their goal has been to supply, educate and nurture the vibrant homebrew community in New York City,

John has been instrumental in shining a light on the local homebrew and craft beer scene. By developing classes in beginning and advanced homebrewing, bringing world renowned authors like Charlie Papazian and John Palmer to New York and organizing events with both local and national breweries, John continues to enlighten the beer making and drinking public on technique, styles and innovations.



Alex Lewin                 Workshop: Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond        2:00pm

Alex Lewin is the author of "Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen", and the co-author of "Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond", with Raquel Guajardo.

He grew up on the East Coast of the US. His interests span health and health, food, computers, music, mysteries, and two-wheeled vehicles.

In his evolving journey on the earth, he has discovered that one of his gifts is the ability to co-exist side-by-side with friendly bacteria. While others struggle with bacteria, Alex embraces them.

A graduate of Harvard, the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, he seeks to create a healthier and tastier world by spreading the good news about fermentation and real food. He leads fermentation classes and workshops in the US and abroad. He served on the opening board of the Boston Public Market, the only local, indoor, year-round market of its kind in the US. He is also involved with Boston Ferments, a non-profit that organizes and hosts fermentation-related events, including the Boston Fermentation Festival.

He lives in Oakland, CA, and Cambridge, MA.



Raphael Lyon              Workshop: Why You Don't Drink Mead, A Primer?    12:00pm

Lyon has been making mead for almost twenty years, ten of it professionally as the founder and head mazer of Enlightenment Wines. His background in farming, foraging and natural medicine are key to his practice as is his research into the long history of wine and mead making. This short survey of the last 20,000 years will try and lay bare a more complex history of mead then the one you may be familiar with. 



William Mullan              Workshop: Fermentation Makes Your Chocolate Better: A discussion on cacao fermentation, quality, and flavor.                1:00pm

William Mullan is Brand Manager of Raaka Chocolate, a bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and religious chocolate consumer. His focus is on the narrative aspects of Raaka's marketing and communications, with special attention devoted to community and culture building around craft chocolate both locally and nationally.



Kheedim Oh                  Workshop: Everything You Wanted to Know About Kimchi but                                                               Were Afraid to Ask -part 2      1:00pm

Kheedim Oh is the founder of Mama O's Premium Kimchi in Brooklyn.  His lifelong interest in food became professional by chance 8 years ago.  Fascinated by fermentation and it's transformative powers, Kheedim is an avid amateur mycologist and happy to share his enthusiasm for the subject.  



Cheryl Paswater           Workshop: Mission Miso...                                1:00pm

Cheryl is a Fermentationist, Educator, Health Coach, Artist, Beekeeper, and Writer.

She contributes as a writer for Edible Brooklyn, co-organizes the NYC Ferments Meetup Group, and is a co-organizer of the NYC Fermentation Festival. Cheryl's been in the New York Times, Crains NY, Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn, and Saveur Magazine talking all things fermentation. She is currently working on her first book, teaches workshops and at festivals both regionally and internationally, and is the Chief Fermentationist and founder of Contraband Ferments. 

She lives in Brooklyn, NY with all of her cultures as pets (aka: bacteria, yeast, and mold)



Karen Rzepecki                      Workshop: Continuous Kefir              12:00pm

Founder of Mason Jars Company, makers of reCAP. Karen started fermenting 3 years ago after customers raved about using reCAP for fermentation. She has since created kits and instructions for fermenting vegetables and kefir showing how easy it is for anyone to participate in creating healthy food.



Michael Harlan Turkell         Workshop: How to make Vinegar          1:00pm

A once aspiring chef, now photographer, for years, has captured the inner workings of kitchens for his award-winning “BACK OF THE HOUSE” project, which documents the lives of chefs in their restaurant world. As former photo editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, his recurring BACK OF THE HOUSE series appeared in the magazines from 2006 – 2011. Michael’s been nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in Visual Storytelling, included in 25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers V2, (PowerHouse Books), received a Photo District News Photo Annual Award, and has had his photos printed in an array of publications, and cookbooks.

He has photographed the The New Brooklyn CookbookClinton Street Baking Company, “Simple Food, Big Flavor” with Chef Aarón Sanchez“Beginnings” by Chris CosentinoAnarchy in a Jar’s Jam On, Joanne Chang's Flour Flour TooBrooklyn Farmacy’s “The Soda Fountain”, The Meat Hook Meat Book, The New England Kitchen with Chef Jeremy Sewell, Marco Canora’s “A Good Food Day” and “Brodo”, Sara and Nancy Harmon Jenkins "The Four Seasons of Pasta", Lukas Volger's "Bowl", and Chris Cosentino’s "Offal Good", which he also co-authored. He recently wrote and photographed first cookbook, ACID TRIP: Travels in the World of Vinegar”.

He also hosts a show on HeritageRadioNetwork.org called THE FOOD SEEN, which he brings together guests working at the intersections of food, art & design, which has twice been a finalist for a Stitcher Award (2012, 2013), and started the Japanese-inspired event series SUMO STEW, which live streams sumo matches from the grand tournaments Japan while serving bowls of a chankonabe (the sumo stew). He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wine writing wife, and a cat, better known as #masontoday on Instagram.



Mead Making Panel with Bob Slanzi, Vicki Rowe, and Sergio Moutela    2:00pm

Owner of Melovino Meadery, Sergio Moutela, has become a notable award-winning mead maker who's products have wowed even the most discerning and educated of palettes.

His mead has been served at the James Beard House in NYC and has won multiple medals in some of the biggest mead competitions in the world. After overcoming some legal obstacles in New Jersey that prevented meaderies from operating in state, he not only became the first meadery in New Jersey, but also helped open the doors for others to open meaderies as well through the creation of new legislation.

He also openly shares his passion and knowledge with others in the pursuit of making better mead. He is the author of Mead Made Right and the TOSNA method of advanced nutrient additions in mead making, and now owns and operates one of the fastest growing meaderies in the country.

Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the American Mead Makers Association, and in 2017, Melovino became the most award winning meadery at the Mazer Cup International, the largest mead competition in the world.


Vicky Rowe discovered mead in books as a teenager, and got to first taste it in 1983, in college from a friend who made it. She discovered it again in 1987 at the Michigan Renaissance Festival and thought ‘I can make this!’. She set out to do exactly that, cruising libraries and books stores, looking for information, and scouring Compuserve and the (very small) internet.

The recipes and thoughts she discovered lead to her first mead in 1994, a complex concoction that had over 15 herbs in it. She submitted it to the Mazer Cup (the original), run by Ken Schramm and his friends. The comments she received helped her to improve later batched (this one was hot, but aged into a pretty good mead).

The notes she typed up on her small web space on her email service started getting found, and people asked for more. So she put up more as she found it, and Gotmead was officially born in 1996. It has since grown to be over 2500 pages of information, coupled with a large forum that has over 100,000 users and millions of posts spanning over 20 years of mead evolution. She still runs GotMead to this day.

She connected with Mike Faul when he was building his meadery in the 90’s in the Mead Lovers Digest, and then later, Julia Herz, who was then involved with David Myers, owner of Redstone Meadery, who were running the International Mead Festival in Boulder. There she learned to judge mead, having the opportunity to learn with the help of Ken Schramm. 

When the IMF closed in 2006, she got together with Pete Bakulic, Glenn and Dani Exline and Wayne Boncyk and they decided that the world needed a mead festival and competition, so they founded the Mazer Cup, now in it’s 10th year, and the largest mead competition in the world.

After several years on the board of the Mazer Cup, she stepped down and continued to work in her business of craft beverage marketing consulting. A couple years after the founding of the AMMA, she was asked to help out with the first AMMA Conference, and after that, was asked to come on as Executive Director of the AMMA.


Bob Slanzi has been keeping bees and making award winning meads for years. He is very active in the homebrew and beekeeping communities, having held offices in both clubs in the past.  Bob currently serves on the National board of directors as Homebrew liason to the American MeadMakers Assocation.

Bob is known for his unique flavor profiles. Ghost pepper, seaweed and caramel chocolate seasalt  to name just a few. Bob credits his bees for doing most of the work.

Stephen Valand and Steve Walano of Brooklyn Brew Shop                                  Workshop: Brewing (Sour) Beer       2:00pm

Like good beer? Especially sours? Check. Cooking too? Double check. (You’re at the Fermentation Festival after all.) You want to make beer but don’t think you can brew in your tiny NYC kitchen. Right? Think again.

Stephen Valand and Steve Walano from Brooklyn Brew Shop will break the brewing process into something easy to understand and relatively jargon-free. From the ingredients that go into beer to the steps to make your own, this workshop will demystify beer and turn you on to brewing (no matter the size of your apartment).

With an emphasis on making sour beers, they’ll discuss the various ways you can achieve top-notch sours at home. From kettle-souring with lactobacillus (the same stuff that makes all the best food ferments) to mixed fermentations combining ale yeast with literally whatever floats past your window, the Brooklyn Brew Shop team will help prepare you to brew your first batch of beer—sour or otherwise.

They’ll be serving special samples of homemade beers including Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Chocolate Maple Porter and Session Sour highlighting different souring methods along with side-by-side comparisons to un-soured versions.

Along with Erica Shea, Stephen Valand started Brooklyn Brew Shop in 2009 to get the world making beer. He’s the co-author of several brewing books including Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book and Make Some Beer: Small-Batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamberg. Brooklyn Brew Shop’s kitchen-friendly all-grain Beer Making Kits make it super-easy to make real beer from real ingredients at home. Brooklyn Brew Shop recently launched FarmSteady—a new line of booze-free DIY fermentation kits to help people connect with the foods they eat. Brooklyn Brew Shop and FarmSteady kits can be found in big stores and small shops around the globe.

Steve Walano is tasked with ensuring countless Brooklyn Brew Shop customers have amazing experiences making beer at home. An accomplished brewer and certified Cicerone, beer is Steve’s passion. He currently has a batch of beer lagering at the bottom of a lake in upstate New York.

Brooklyn Brew Shop