Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker

Burnett Dairy Cooperative is home to Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker®, Bruce Willis.

What does it mean to be a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker®?

The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program is the only one of its kind outside of Europe. For cheesemakers, it provides the opportunity to reach the highest levels of their craft. For buyers, it provides unparalleled quality assurance, innovation and expertise.

Administered by the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the program is open to veteran Wisconsin cheesemakers with a minimum of 10 years’ experience in Quality Assured plants. Candidates can seek certification for up to two cheese varieties each time they enter the three-year program. They must have been making those specific varieties for at least five years.

Burnett Dairy can proudly say we master in Mozzarella, Colby, Monterey Jack, Fancy Jac and Cheddar cheeses.

Only certified Master Cheesemakers® are eligible to use the Master’s Mark® on their products. Behind this distinctive blue mark on the label is an assurance of quality that you just can’t get anywhere else. That mark, which can only be used by the 56 Wisconsin cheesemakers who’ve earned it, tells quite a story.

It tells you that experience, technical expertise and artistry went into making that cheese. And, it means that you can be confident that you’ve chosen the best cheese from the only place in America where cheesemakers can become true Masters of their craft – Wisconsin.

Requirements

  • Participants must be active, licensed Wisconsin cheesemakers with at least 10 years’ experience working at a plant that participates in the Quality Assurance Program.
  • Made the cheese variety for which they seek certification for at least five years.
  • Complete required courses in cheese technology, artisanship, grading and quality assurance.
  • Complete elective courses that range from applied dairy chemistry, to water and waste management, to whey and whey utilization.
  • Participate in a three-year apprenticeship during which time he or she must submit samples of cheese for evaluation of quality and consistency.
  • Pass a rigorous final written examination.

Bruce Willis

Mastering in Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® Bruce Willis has been making cheese for over 35 years. "Taking the master cheesemaker classes in Madison piqued my interest in blending different cultures and enzymes, and combining art with cheese science."