Who We Are

Advisory Board


Barbara Ketcham Wheaton

was born in Philadelphia in 1931, received a B.A. in art history from Mount Holyoke College, and an M.A. in art history from Harvard University. She was drawn into the study of food history when she realized that food and cooking could be studied as cultural artifacts. In the late 1960s she realized that the personal computer could be used to use the rich, but almost excessively detailed information in cookbooks and related sources. She then began to try to make a database that would allow researchers to analyze these documents which had been created in so many different times and places. The task far outran her computer skills. In recent years, working with Catherine Wheaton Saines, her daughter, and Joe Wheaton, her older son, to get The Sifter onto the internet so that people can use it in their research. She has been fortunate in finding help from Charlie ...


Ursula Heinzelmann

independent scholar and culinary historian born and based in Berlin, Germany. A trained chef, sommelier and ex-restaurateur, she works as a freelance wine and food writer, specializing in cheese. She is the author of a highly acclaimed cultural history of food in Germany, Beyond Bratwurst, as well as several books on cooking and on cheese. She acted as area editor for both the Oxford Companion to Cheese and Sugar and Sweets. Heinzelmann also is the director of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery and co-curator of the Cheese Berlin festival.


Cathy Kaufman

is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Food Studies at The New School University in New York City. Chairman of the Culinary Historians of New York and a Trustee of, and Programmer for, the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery, she is the author or editor of numerous books and articles in the field of food history and culture. She received her MA in Food Studies from New York University and specializes in American culinary history, material culture and performance, and beverage history.


Katherine A. McIver

Ph.D, Professor Emerita of Art History, is the author of Kitchens, Cooking, and Eating in Medieval Italy ( Rowman & Littlefield: 2017), Cooking and Eating in Renaissance Italy: From Kitchen to Table (Rowman & Littlefield: 2015) and Women, Art, and Architecture in Northern Italy, 1520-1580: Negotiating Power (Ashgate, 2006 winner of a Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Book Award, 2007). She is the editor and contributor of numerous volumes of essays on women patrons in the Renaissance as well as other topics. She has also written about dining: “Banqueting at the Lord’s Table in 16th Century Venice,” Gastronomica 8/3 (Summer 2008): 8-12 and “Let’s Eat: Kitchens and Dining in the Renaissance Palazzo and Country Estate” in New Perspectives on the Early Modern Italian Domestic Interior, Stephanie Miller and Erin Campbell, eds. (2013), 159-74 and “Rich Food, Poor Food,” a review of Massimo Montanari’s Medieval Tastes for The Times Literary Supplement, 5863 (August 14, 2015), 30. She has presented papers on dining practices in Renaissance Italy and attended the Roger Smith Cookbook Conference in 2012 (participating in Barbara Ketchum Wheaton’s Historic Cookbook workshop), 2013 and 2014 (also chaired a panel). She has attended the Oxford Symposium on Food and Culture since 2013.


Richard Shepro

Richard Shepro is an international lawyer and a well-recognized scholar in the area of gastronomic history and food controversies. After receiving degrees as an economic historian at Harvard and the London School of Economics, he received a law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was an Editor of The Harvard Law Review. He has taught at Harvard and the University of Chicago, and has lectured extensively for nearly a decade on gastronomic history topics at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, at the University of Chicago, at the Culinary Historian of New York, and at the Alliance Française. He is an officer of the Confrérie du Chevaliers du Tastevin in Burgundy and of the Commanderie de Bordeaux.


Catherine Wheaton Saines

the daughter of Barbara Wheaton, she most recently worked as a Library Assistant at the Public Library of Brookline. In the past she has worked as a software tester for database programs for commercial companies. She has worked with Barbara over the last 10 years developing the tables and structure of the database.


Joe Wheaton

born 1959 is an artist. He makes nonrepresentational sculpture mostly in metal. He also does site specific video projections. He has worked with his mother Barbara Wheaton and Catherine Saines to get The Sifter built and launched on the internet so that more people will have the opportunity to contribute and search this amazing tool.

Development Team


Charlie Rubin

Charlie Rubin is a professional database architect, specializing in cloud-based data warehouses, complex ETL work, performance optimization, and database-intensive websites. Since graduating from MIT in 1987, he has worked for a wide variety of clients, including Goldman Sachs, IBM, Intel, NYC Health and Hospitals, Bank of America, Zagat Survey, the NY Philharmonic, the ACLU and the National Suicide Hotline. He spent 6 years as the Senior Database Architect for White Mountains Re, a $7B international reinsurance firm. He has also created his own products, including a complete IVR platform and more recently, a website that helps homeowners lower their property taxes using big data. Currently he is working with Barbara Ketcham Wheaton, along with her children Joe Wheaton and Catherine Saines to bring to life The Sifter, her long-held dream of a powerful database-driven tool for international food history research.


Charnjeet Sharma

Charnjeet Sharma is a professional software developer, specializing in .Net technologies, jQuery frameworks, performance optimization and developing multi-tier web applications. After completing his degree in Computer Science he has spent the last 6 years doing freelance work for a variety of overseas clients. Currently he is doing all website development for the Sifter.