Kristi is a long-time cheesemonger at Fromagination, starting her cheese sales position two and a half years after the shop opened in 2007.
Customer service and finding the best cheese for particular customers is Kristi’s focus. Before Fromagination, she cooked in several restaurants and a private school. But she always wanted to work with dairy.
“The reason why I wanted to work in the food industry was to be able to support Wisconsin dairy and agriculture by working in artisan cheese shops that would give me the opportunity to become more aware of our cheesemakers.”
As the artisan cheese movement has grown, it has been a process to learn the ropes.
“My first day was a little overwhelming. My coworkers were very instrumental in teaching me things, and slowly but surely I learned how it worked here.”
Kristi has to know what cheeses will fit the customer she’s talking to in order to provide the best experience.
“I think my work ethic is strong,” she said. “I also think to make a happy customer is to go above and beyond. I call it my ‘surprise and delight’.”
Kristi likes to make it easy for her customers to reach that delightful moment.
“The best part of Fromagination is working with the customer, tending to their needs and recommending things they would have never thought of. It’s a little overwhelming and intimidating for some people, so I like to kind of narrow it down so it’s easier for customers to make choices that way.”
But Kristi has her favorites if you ask her what she likes.
“My favorite pairing is our signature cranberry relish with a nice sharp cheddar.”
Outside the shop, she likes reading, cooking at home and taking care of her pets.
“I try to encourage people to ‘Love cheese more’,” said Kristi, echoing Fromagination’s tagline.