Meet Our Master Cheesemakers
Backed by over 160 years of cheesemaking, Wisconsin is the only state that requires a licensed cheesemaker to monitor every pound of cheese made in the state. The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® Program is a rigorous 3-year course, and apprentices must have at least 10 years of experience before applying. As the only program of its kind outside of Europe, it ensures that the old-world standards of quality and craftsmanship continue to produce the finest cheeses right here in Wisconsin.
With nearly 600 U.S. and world awards between them, meet some of our favorite Master Cheesemakers, and learn more about their award-winning specialty cheeses.
Drive out into the gently rolling hills of south central Wisconsin, and you'll come across the bright silos of Decatur Dairy jutting up against lush green farmland all around. Running this unassuming 70-year-old facility is a man who is equally modest: Master Cheesemaker Steve Stettler. Since taking over operations 30 years ago, Steve has expanded Decatur Dairy by thousands of square feet, raised the number of cheese types produced up to 40, created many new signature cheeses and won countless awards of excellence in U.S. and World Cheese Contests.
Maple Leaf Cheese has been making natural Wisconsin cheeses for more than 100 years, always using fresh milk only from the local farmers who own the Cooperative. Master Cheesemaker Jeff Wideman has been the leader at Maple Leaf for more than 30 years. As winner of four international and 24 U.S. awards, he's very proud of the way Green County's cheese industry supports local farmers, gets the best, purest milk possible, and is on the cutting edge of the specialty cheese trend with a remarkable concentration of cheesemaking heritage and expertise. He lives his passion every day, and we're proud to share his world-class expertise here with you.
Limburger may be best known for its strong aroma and sometimes a little humor, too. Master Cheesemaker Myron Olson takes it all in stride with his constant smile. The Chalet Cheese Co-Op is the only place in the U.S. that still makes Limburger (in various levels of intensity), and Myron is the only Master Cheesemaker certified to make it. He grew up on a dairy farm and has been at Chalet Cheese for 40 years. They also make Baby Swiss and Brick cheeses which have won numerous U.S. and World Champion Cheese awards. Myron feels that the limestone-filtered water of south central Wisconsin is the best-tasting water in the world, helping make the highest quality cheese to be found anywhere. We think you'll agree with your first bite.
Not only is Bruce Workman the highest certified Master Cheesemaker in the U.S. with nine certifications in specialty cheeses, he's also the only person in the country who still makes classic, 180-lb. wheels of Swiss Emmentaler cheese in a copper pot the way they used to be made. The Edelweiss Creamery has been on the same site since 1873, and Bruce has led its operations to many high-place awards. All the milk comes from local farm families, so Bruce is confident it's the highest quality available. We're sure you'll agree when you taste his cheeses.
Meet the most-awarded Master Cheesemaker in the world. Sid Cook is the fourth generation in his family to make cheese over the last 100 years, and he currently makes more than 80 types, including blends of cow, sheep and goat milk. Under his direction, Carr Valley Cheese has won more than 400 cheesemaking awards from U.S. and international competitions. Sid is well-known for combining classic old-world craftsmanship with innovative approaches to cheesemaking. Try any of his delectable cheeses, and you'll savor the flavors of a world champion.
© 2014 The Wisconsin Cheeseman