Katie Hedrich, co-owner, LaClare Family Farms, Chilton, Wis.
First food-related job?Milking cows for Jim and Rose Gerner when I was 15. They ran an 85-head dairy cow herd in Chilton, Wis.
Where did you learn to make cheese?From Nathan Dehne at Saxon Homestead Creamery, Cleveland, Wis. I also studied at UW-Madison and UW-Riverfalls and completed the necessary course work.
Favorite way to eat cheese?This really depends on the type of cheese I’m eating. I love eating aged cheese, especially our Evalon by itself or with a little sweet preserve. A milder cheese like our Fondy Jack or goat milk cheddar I like to melt enormous amounts in my dish. If it’s a fresh cheese like a chevre or cream cheese, I like to use for dips and desserts.
What should the public know about cheese?It’s impossible to eat too much cheese. Trust me!!!
Who is your cheese idol?Master cheesemaker Mike Matucheski from Satori Cheese. In the past couple of years, Mike and his cheesemaking partner Pam have begun working with goat’s milk. Knowing cheesemakers like Mike motivates me to strive to be the best I can be in everything I do.
First memory of cheese?I worked at Sargento Cheese when I first started college back in 2003 as a temp worker. I remember the night I worked on the Parmesan shred line. It smelled so bad I could barely stand it. I actually asked the supervisor if that was normal. It took me a long time to eat Parmesan again after that.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a cheesemaker?I would be selling cheese or hopefully some type of goat product (soap, milk, etc.). I was born and raised with goats. Most of my school papers were about goats in one way or another.
What is the best book about cheese you’ve read?I love “The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin” book. James Norton and Becca Dilly did a great job capturing the master cheesemaker’s story. I still haven’t met every master cheesemaker in the book yet but I will.
Would you bait a mousetrap with your cheese?I actually use peanut butter for my mousetraps. I never have any cheese I’m willing to donate to the mice.
Know any good cheese-related jokes?What type of cheese is made backwards? EDAM