UW–Madison grad makes top 20 in World Championship Cheese Contest

Plymouth-based company had two cheeses in top 20

MADISON, Wis. - Mike Matucheski, a University of Wisconsin–Madison alumnus, and his team from Sartori Company had two cheeses that were ranked in the top 20 at the World Championship Cheese Contest.

The World Championship Cheese Contest, which has been held in Madison the past week, had 3,402 entries from 27 nations and 32 states, according to a release.

Two Sartori cheeses, Pastoral Blend and Reserve Espresso, made the top 20. At the last United States championship, Matucheski's Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano was chosen as the best cheese in the United States, according to a release.

Matucheski, an Antigo native, was a history major with an interest in journalism and archeology, but ultimately discovered his passion while working as a cheesemaker at Sartori. He also earned his master cheesemaker certification at UW–Madison.

“My upbringing, my experience at UW–Madison, taught me that you can’t let luck rule your world. Luck doesn’t get you where you need to be. Creativity does. Passion does. Opportunity does,” Matucheski said.

When he was younger, he helped make farmer's cheese with his grandmother. He said he also remembers the smell of cheese from Antigo's Kraft cheese plant while in high school.

Matucheski became a helper at the Kraft plant, which became Antigo Cheese and ultimately Sartori Company.

“I learned along the way to push boundaries. Using skill and passion, I grabbed opportunities,” Matucheski says.

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