6. Taste-testing some of America's finest Italian-style cured meats
Who does it: Sebastian Beumer, plant operations, R&D, and new product creation manager at La Quercia, Norwalk, IA
What he does: Beumer gets to play with meat all day. As the plant manager at the award-winning American salumi producer La Quercia, Beumer works with the best farmers to create pancetta, guanciale, salami, prosciutto, coppa, and more. He recently helped develop the company’s version of the spicy spreadable salumi called ’nduja and is now in the process of testing a new type of cooked salami. Of course, quality control, aka, tasting all the delicious pork products, is a regular part of the job. Jealous?
How he got the job: Beumer went to culinary school later in life and worked in restaurants. Looking to change careers, he went back to Iowa State to study animal and meat science. While working at a grocery store in the meat department, Beumer was introduced to Herb and Kathy, the founders of La Quercia. He soon toured the facility and offered to work for free, because he just wanted to be part of it. (He already loved salumi and was even making it at home.) Working one day a week morphed into two, and eventually he got a full-time job. Five years later, Beumer is now the plant manager.