It’s Cheese Sex Death’s 4th Birthday!
A lot of people ask me how I became a full-time cheese preacher and went from your average cheese lover to grating Parmigiano directly into my mouth for thousands of followers. Well. it’s been a hell of a ride with struggles, luck, fiery passion, and many failures. Please, make yourself a little personal cheese plate and let me tell you the story of how Cheese Sex Death was born.
In 2012, I was a directionless college grad with no career prospects and 2 worthless undergraduate degrees (in English and Film Production). I was working seasonally in the shoe department at Macy’s, I had just dropped out of comedy writing classes at Second City, and my seasonal cooking blog was failing. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I did know that I really loved to eat, especially cheese.
So how did I go from a casual cheese eater to a full-time preacher? Here’s the TLDR version: I followed my curd-iosity, it blossomed into a passion, and eventually became my career.
If you want to know exactly how it all went down for me, here’s the timeline of how Cheese Sex Death came to be.
My mom comes home from the farmers market with a 2-lb block of SarVecchio Parmesan from Sartori Cheese, in Wisconsin. I crumble off handfuls, and get lost in flavors and textures I didn’t even know existed. I obsess over the crunchy crystals and notes of pineapple, peanuts, and cream.
I visit Chicago’s cheese shop Pastoral and gawk over a cheese case for the first time. The cheesemonger asks if I want a sandwich: “Baguette with brie, mustard, and butter” he says; “trust me, you want it.” I sink my teeth through the shattering crust into thick slabs of salty butterfat, and instantly fall in love with the monger.
I spend a semester studying film in Bonn, Germany. I’m tragically vegetarian (by choice SMH), and survive on dark, toasted slices of sunflower seed bread with gouda and tomatoes.
I graduate college with dual degrees in English and Film Production. I get a job as a hostess, obviously, and start a movie review blog called “The Shit Erika Saw.”
I eat meat again for the first time in 7 years: duck heart hash at Le Pigeon in Portland, OR. I officially become obsessed with food.
I start a cooking blog called Seasonal Suppin’.
I visit New York City and stumble upon Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn. I fall in love with the seductive cheese descriptions and envy the cheesemongers.
I rebrand my food blog to “The buckwhEater.” I just really love buckwheat and had read somewhere that it was a term used to describe a newb in the lumberjack community.
I intern at Plate Magazine, where I’m assigned a project on Spanish cheese. I start researching and become infatuated with the variety of cheeses and stories behind them. The clouds part and a light shines down upon me. I googled “how do I devote my life to cheese” and discover a blog post from Madame Fromage. It tells me to buy some cheese books and get a job at a counter. That day, I apply at Pastoral.
I quit my front desk job at a salon and become a cheesemonger.
I get fired from my first cheese social media gig.
Feeling unfulfilled behind the counter, I quit my cheese job to work at Longman & Eagle, my favorite restaurant in Chicago at the time.
I rebrand my blog to “The Dining Demon” and focus on restaurant reviews.
I leave Longman for another restaurant job. I quit after the first shift, and find myself unemployed.
I visit my bestie in LA, where we fall in love with a raw milk dairy vendor at the Santa Monica farmers market. It is on this trip that I decide to start my cheese blog. We pondered what to call it while hiking. My boyfriend says, “You love cheese, you’re goth, and you look like you’re having an orgasm when you eat. Call it Cheese Death Sex.”
I call my mom with the news. She says, “Cheese Sex Death has more of a ring to it.”
I rebrand my blog as Cheese Sex Death. The first post is an imperfect recipe for Baba Ganoush, a vegan eggplant dish. I’m really not sure why the first post wasn’t about cheese.
I use my “blog experience” to get a job doing social media for Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. Having no marketing background, I train myself by reading blogs and listening to social media podcasts.
I start #CheeseChurch by regramming 3 cheese pictures every Sunday.
My first successful blog post is a demo on how to make soft-scrambled eggs. Once again, there is no cheese in the recipe.
My Instagram reaches 1,000 followers. I celebrate with a wedge of Bayley Hazen Blue cheese in my cleavage and decide I like this direction.
I go to the Cheese Monger Invitational. Someone says, “are you Cheese Sex Death?” I mentally record that moment as the highlight of my life thus far.
I quit the restaurant world to work for the dairy industry at Lifeway Foods. I become obsessed with kefir.
My friend asks for a private cheese class. There are 12 disciples, and we call it Cheese Church IRL.
I host my first public class, on how to pair whiskey with cheese.
I decide to launch a cheese event company called “Chicago Cheese Parties” and buy a domain.
I by my full-time job and side hustle, and decide not to launch the cheese event company.
I launch my first piece of merchandise, the Camembert Pin.
I quit my job at Lifeway to work for Culture Magazine part-time and to devote my time to doing digital marketing for others in the cheese industry.
A video of me grating Parmigiano into my mouth goes viral. The Cheese Church grows.
I launch my first t-shirt, the Cheese Slut Shirt.
Cheese Sex Death turns 3 years old.
I quit my part-time gig, write out a business plan, and officially take Cheese Sex Death full-time.
I get myself an LLC.
I return to Longman & Eagle, but not to work as a food runner. We host an orgasmic cheese and whiskey pairing class that sells out in 2 hours.
I double the number of events I did in January, and host my first cheese plate pop-up, selling personal plates for $10 a piece.
I double the number of events I did in February, complete my first catering gig, host my first out-of-town cheese at Tulip Tree Creamery in Indiana, and launch my first hand-curated cheese box, in collaboration with Fromagination in Wisconsin.
I spend my time teaching cheese tasting classes, helping cheesemakers use social media, creating dope cheese swag, and writing this blog. So, what does this year have in store? Right now I’m working on more videos, pairing guides, recipes, events, and sexy cheese merch for all y’all. I don’t know where this is all going, but I do know that I’m loving this journey and that I will be committing many, many more fuck ups along the way.
It’s a pleasure and a privilege to turn you on to the curd, cheese sluts! Thank you for being a part of my cheese church.