And it’s official: I am an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional. Say it with me: whoooooo-hooooo!

Jane Bauer from ACS emailed me yesterday, with a note that a press release will go out today. I am interested to see how many other folks from Wisconsin are on the list. Up until now, there’s only been two other CCPs in the state, so I am honored to be in their company!

Of the more than 250 people who sat for the test this year, 153 people passed. A total of 406 individuals throughout the United States and Canada are now official ACS CCPs.

So what is an ACS CCP? 

The ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam is the first and only exam of its kind. It was established by the American Cheese Society to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals in all areas of the industry. The exam is based on the knowledge and skills required to successfully perform cheese-related tasks in jobs across the industry. Testing encompasses a broad range of topics including raw ingredients, the cheesemaking process, storing and handling cheese, selecting distributors, marketing and communicating about cheese, nutrition, and regulations and sanitation.

In other words, you have to know everything about everything. For six months prior to the test, I read nothing that was not cheese-related. Cheesemaking books and cheese industry tomes made up a permanent stack next to the couch in our living room. I promised myself that if I passed, I’d reward my self with a Mountain Dew and a People magazine – which other than the Sunday New York Times, is about the only non-cheese related publication I’ve read in 2014.

A huge, huge thank you to Metcalfe’s Market-Hilldale in Madison, who two years ago, took a chance on someone they had never heard of, who had NO retail experience, and then hired her anyway to help work the cheese counter. Today, I am blessed to manage a department with three full-time staff and 300 cheeses, 90 percent of which we cut and wrap ourselves, and cut to order for a growing number of clientele. I literally get to smell, touch and taste cheese all day. I get to work with Wisconsin cheesemakers and be the first to sample and sell their new cheeses. This is the dream, baby. And I love it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for your support, especially my husband, who refers to himself as “Cheese Junior” but works just as hard as I do. I look forward to continuing to attend industry classes and keep up on my studies to recertify in 2017. But first, I’m going to hit the library, check out a juicy novel, drink a non-diet soda, and hit the hammock for an hour.

Cheese for life!!

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