“The way you look at cheese…
It’s kind of disturbing.”
– Chef Andrew Dering, Billy Sunday
A couple of weeks ago I visited my friend Andrew, the talented head chef of Billy Sunday, a cocktail and small plates spot in Chicago. I brought a couple friends along with me: a wedge of Jeffs’ Select Gouda, a half of Angel Food, a miniature goat cheese from Prairie Fruits Farm, and my traveling cheese board. I sat at the bar, sharing the company of my cheese friends with the staff. They assumed I was a cheese rep, trying to sell my inventory to the chef, but I wasn’t there on business. I was just doing my thing.
Each week, more and more studies pop up from around the internet proclaiming the healthful benefits of eating real cheese. FoodNavigatorUSA.com proclaims cheese as the new health food. While I hope cheese doesn’t become a fad diet, I do feel that the climate is right to revolutionize the public’s opinion of dairy products, and clearly I’m not alone.
A few years ago, I didn’t even know that I wanted to work in the food industry. I always cooked a lot and journaled often, and naturally the two collided with my first food blog on eating seasonally. It was just a way to record my recipes, and I really enjoyed it. Then I got an internship at Plate, a chef’s industry magazine located in Chicago. One day I was assigned a story on Spanish cheese, and I became obsessed. So, I got a job at Pastoral, a local chain of cheese stores. Around the same time, I began writing for Chicagoist. My first article was about American cheese, and it was posted on all of the national “ist” sites.
Sure, I was really broke for a long time. I learned that it’s virtually impossible to make a living as a food writer and I struggled to gain a following. My first two blogs completely failed. I almost gave up. I started studying for the G.R.E.s with the intention of gaining a degree in the psychological field. My dad told me to follow my passion. He told me not to give up on it. So, I persevered. Now I’m working on a social media project with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, running food at my favorite restaurant in the city, and spreading cheese awareness everyday with this blog. Thanks dad, and mom too! You’re always so supportive.
So, find something that you love to do. Even if you have to do it for free, even if it’s just a hobby, if it makes you happy it’s worth pursuing. If you’re authentically passionate, people will pay attention. If you don’t know what you’re passionate about yet, then try something new every week until something clicks. Whatever you do, don’t give up.