John Slawinski, Head Cheese Maker at Clock Shadow Creamery
How he got the job: "I was looking for something to do that would allow me to work with food," John Slawinski tells Thrillist. And when a retail position opened up at the creamery, he thought that looked like a good way to get his foot in the door.
"As soon as I was hired, I volunteered for everything and anything that was part of production," Slawinski says. "With a good deal of persistence, I was given more and more cheese making responsibilities. After about a year, I was an assistant cheese maker with a cheese making license, and in three years of hard work and eagerness to learn, I took over production after the previous cheese maker went back to Cedar Grove Cheese, our sister creamery in Plain, WI."
What he does: Slawinski oversees the production of cheese at Milwaukee's only creamery. "To get our delicious, squeaky cheese curds out to our customers the same day they were made, I need to start turning milk into cheese at 10:30 the night before," he says. "First pasteurized milk, some of which we get from the dairy cows at the Milwaukee County Zoo, is cultured to produce flavor and preserve the cheese. Second, using an enzyme, the still-liquid milk is made into a gel. At this point, the vat is full of curds and whey, something Little Miss Muffet would be very familiar with. Then the whey is drained off, and only the curd remains. As the sun starts rising, the last of the salt is added to the curd, and the squeaks are ready for snacking, fresh or fried."
Best part of the job: "The connection it has with Milwaukee -- a connection to not only the many restaurants that use our cheeses on their menus, but also to the people who enjoy our cheese. Also, fresh cheese curds!"