Shawn Pieper, Murray’s Cheese Master, Bio
When I was in high school my parents and I made a deal, if I could save up $2,500 for a down payment on a car they would help me get one. They were not going to just buy me a car as a gift. I started working a week after I turned 16, without even telling my parents how many jobs I had applied for. They only knew I had a job when I told them I started the next day and we had to go get me clothes to fit the dress code.
That first job was at Subway making Sandwiches for the masses. I saved up every penny I made for the next 6 months and the first day of summer after finishing my sophomore year I had my first car to call my own. Thank you Mom and Dad for showing me the value of a dollar! It felt so great making that last payment and seeing that title in the mail 3 years later! I worked that job for 5 years, until I graduated in 2008 from the Art Institute of Houston with a degree in Interactive Media Design.
Oddly enough while I was in college I played a video game where I created a character, with what I thought at the time was nothing more than a goofy name remembering my past. The name was Cheezsammich and for 3 years that was how people knew me, my nickname was Cheez of all things.
Fast forwarding I got a job with Kroger in 2008 as a part-time job while I went back to college for another degree in an entirely different field, a Bachelors in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Psychology. I honestly never saw myself making a career there at the time. Long story short I did not finish that degree and started working my way up within the company being offered to work in the Cheese Shop that was being brought into my store at the time which was being remodeled. I learned every facet of the Deli which led me to that moment. About 4 years into working for the company I was approached by someone and offered a chance to apply and interview for a position as the Cheese Master at a Murray’s Cheese Shop opening in a store nearby. I applied and was given an interview, lucky me got the job!
I realized when I went to NYC for the Murray’s Cheese orientation classes that I was starting to really become a cheese geek. Who knew that there was an entire world devoted to cheese, this wasn’t just Kraft Singles anymore that I knew about. There was an actual art to cheesemaking, an industry that I could never have imagined being as big as it is. Now I have been a Cheese Master for 2 years, and I really do love teaching people what I know about cheeses, how it’s made, what it could go with, etc. I certainly don’t claim to be the most knowledgeable, but I do try to learn something new every day about my chosen field to be just a little better! Who would have thought my nickname from a hobby during college would be where I see my career path leading me today. 🙂
My thanks to everyone participating in my 2015 Virtual Q&A with Cheese Professionals. I hope all of you, my loyal readers, are enjoying this as much as I am…
Interviews will continue throughout 2015… sometimes, they will be “stand-alone” and sometimes they will be presented as round-table discussions with several Cheese Professionals answering the same question. Those participating includeCheesemakers, ACS CCPs™, Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
List of 2015 Cheese Professionals.
List of all Cheese Professionals Bios.
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