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What does it take to be a Master Cheesemaker?

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(WXOW) – As Wisconsin marks 25 years of its Master Cheesemaker program, a new logo honors the legacy of those who go through the rigorous training.

Tina Peterson from the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin said it takes longer to achieve Master Cheesemaker status than it does to earn a doctorate degree. Each person who undergoes the training also specializes in only one type of cheese, and has to do it all over again to earn another certification. It’s also the only program of its kind outside of Europe.

Here’s a taste of what it takes for the distinguished Master Cheesemaker status:

Courtesy: Center for Dairy Research
  • Participants must be active, licensed Wisconsin cheesemakers with at least 10 years’ experience working at a plant that participates in the Quality Assurance Program.
  • Made the cheese variety for which they seek certification for at least five years.
  • Complete required courses in cheese technology, artisanship, grading and quality assurance.
  • Complete elective courses that range from applied dairy chemistry, to water and waste management, to whey and whey utilization.
  • Participate in a three-year apprenticeship during which time he or she must submit samples of cheese for evaluation of quality and consistency.
  • Pass a rigorous final written examination.

As part of the 25th anniversary of the program, look for a new logo on products made by Master Cheesemakers featuring their personalized portraits!

Peterson also showcased some recipes using Master Cheesemaker products. For these and more, you can always check out the website

Grilled Chicken Salad:

  1. Place the 1/2 cup blackberries, basil, balsamic vinegar and honey in a food processor. Cover and process until mixture is smooth; slowly stream in olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Pour 3/4 cup vinaigrette in a sealable plastic bag. Add chicken; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate remaining vinaigrette until serving.
  3. Grease grill grate. Heat grill to medium. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes per side or until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 165°F. Transfer chicken to a cutting board; keep warm.
  4. Divide salad mix onto four serving plates. Cut chicken into slices. Top salads with chicken and remaining blackberries. Drizzle with reserved vinaigrette. Sprinkle with Merlot BellaVitano®.
Recipe Tip
  • Any Wisconsin wine-soaked cheese or cheese with hint of red wine flavor can be used.

Steak and Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps:


  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Pat steak dry with paper towels. Brush with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill steak, covered, over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side or until a thermometer inserted in steak reads 145°F. Transfer steak to cutting board; tent with aluminum foil. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, red wine vinegar and celery salt in a large bowl. Fold in coleslaw mix. Gently fold in blue cheese.
  4. Thinly slice steak against the grain. Top wraps with steak and coleslaw. Roll up tightly.
Recipe Tip
  • An average 14-ounce bag of store-bought coleslaw mix yields about 7 cups.

Dustin Luecke

Dustin Luecke anchors News 19 Daybreak weekday mornings.

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