Out of 45 Elite Cheese Experts in the World, One Works at a Minnesota Hy-Vee
Only 45 people in the world can call themselves elite cheese experts and one of those people works at the Hy-Vee in New Hope. Her name is Kathy Scheer.
Kathy took the American Cheese Society’s test to become a Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator (or CCSE) this past summer. Spoiler alert, she passed! But before taking that test, she had to pass two tests to become an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) which less than 1,000 in the world have. And before all of that! Kathy was hired on at the New Hope Hy-Vee in their cheese shop. She had no idea she would ever pass any of those tests, let alone take them. She actually just started working with cheese 4 years ago.
Prior to working with cheese, Kathy worked in general merchandise retail. The company she was working for was going out of business and she ended up landing a new position at the New Hope Hy-Vee's cheese shop.
So what the heck is on these tests? To earn the CCP, City Pages writes that Kathy had to take two tests, "in which she would answer 150 questions like 'How many ounces of fat are there in a one-pound cheese of 65 percent moisture content and 70 percent fat in dry matter?' (It’s 3.92 ounces, duh)."
Then in the test to earn the CCSE she had to smell 10 different glasses of milk and identify hidden aromas. She also had to "evaluate 12 cheeses from appearance, rind, and texture, to aroma and flavor, proving her ability to determine a cheese’s salability."
There's actually a total of 3 people in Minnesota with the CCSE but Kathy "is the only one who works in a public-facing capacity, let alone a grocery store." So why is she still at Hy-Vee? She told City Pages:
“I’m at the end of my career, let’s face it. So I want to work for a good company, not a shady company, and Hy-Vee has an impeccable reputation.” She also loves the freedom Hy-Vee gives her to question the status quo, and management’s responsiveness to her ideas.
Also, if you're interested in hiking it up to New Hope, she teaches cheese classes at that Hy-Vee location!
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