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Japanese cheesemaker, Mr. Ryota Nakao, traveled to Wisconsin for nearly two months this summer to take part in a cheese making training program facilitated by the Babcock Institute. Mr. Nakao was sent by his employer, Yotsuba Milk Product Company in Japan, to research techniques for making new types of cheese.
Over the course of the program, Mr. Nakao participated in several courses through the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He interned with cheesemaker Chris Roelli at Roelli Cheese in Shullsburg, Wis., and master cheesemaker Bob Wills at Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, Wis. Mr. Nakao also spent a few days with cheesemaker Kara Kasten-Olson at Sassy Cow Creamery in Columbus, Wis., spent a day touring cheese plants with Ron Paris of Sugar River Dairy, and spent three days at the end of July with Bill Klein at the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant at UW-Madison.
In Japan, Mr. Nakao specializes in making a technically-challenging type of cheese that combines Camembert and blue cheese. Mr. Nakao's expertise in making highly technical cheeses paved the way for an exchange of knowledge between Yotsuba Milk in Japan and Cedar Grove Cheese in Wisconsin. Mr. Nakao worked with Wills to share his techniques, while at the same time learning new processes for making a wider variety of cheeses. Mr. Nakao was excited to learn more about artisan cheese making and is looking forward to sharing what he learned with other young cheesemakers in Japan.