Sid Cook

(Earned his first Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker certificate in 2002)

Having won 569 national and international awards within the past 14 years, Sid Cook’s Carr Valley Cheese just might rank first in the world for number of awards. Cook’s passion for cheese began at a very young age. He remembers opening the kitchen door in his childhood home to find vats of cheese—no surprise given that his family owned Irish Valley cheese. By age 16 he had become a licensed cheesemaker, and just seven years later he and his brother purchased Irish Valley. In 1986 Cook became sole owner of Irish Valley and bought Carr Valley in LaValle, Wisconsin. A two-time graduate of the Master Cheesemaker program, Cook is certified in four cheeses. The education he gained in the program went “beyond the practical,” Cook says; it gave him the chance to work alongside and learn from cheesemakers from around the world. And that training no doubt contributed to the huge success of Carr Valley, which today produces more than 95 cheeses, purchases milk from nearly 100 farm families, and encompasses four factories and eight stores. Cook’s been producing cheese for some 50 years, but when he’s asked if he will retire, he simply says, “I’m not done yet.”