If you’ve ever walked into the grocery store “just to pick up a few things” and wandered out carrying a wheel of Brie, a wedge of Parmesan and two kinds of goat cheese, then you know the #cheeselifestyle is real. So imagine if your nine-to-five was devoted to all things cheesy — we’re talking sampling, coming up with new cheese products, and making all your favorite cheeses even better. Are you swooning yet? We were too, after we heard about Illana Fischer’s job. Scroll on to discover how this #girlboss cheese lover landed her dream job, and how you can get a slice of the action.
Meet the Cheese Pro
Illana Fischer is the VP of Innovation and Strategy at Schuman Cheese. When it comes to her favorite snack, she is a legit pro. She told us, “I have always loved cheese! When I had more traditional business jobs before business school, I worked in cheese shops on the weekends to learn more about my favorite food.” Still, she couldn’t figure out how to connect her cheese love to her professional work… until she discovered Schuman Cheese. She went out to visit them and it was a match made in dairy heaven — Neal Schuman, the CEO of Schuman Cheese, offered her a job on the spot.
Get All the Cheesy Details
Illana says she spends her days, “solving the world’s cheesiest problems — seriously! We think about what’s missing or not perfect today for cheese lovers, and we try to develop a “fix” for that.” For example, she revealed that one of her products, Whisps, are cheese crisps that don’t have to be refrigerated, making your favorite snack more convenient than ever. (BRB, we are ordering them right now.)
She says a lot of care goes into each product: ”I am a firm believer that a new product should add something more than just its newness to the category — it should make improvements too.”
Save the Cheese World
As if bringing more cheese into the world wasn’t enough, Illana is also saving your fridge from cheese fraud and forgery. Yes, that’s really a thing — Illana tells us that companies will often add fillers (think: cellulose and fake cheese) to lower their costs, without ever telling consumers. It’s messed up, which is why Illana has worked with Schuman Cheese to create the True Cheese® trust mark. “If you see that seal, you know you’re getting the real thing.” She also shared this tip with us: “The absolute best way to avoid cheese fraud is to buy a wedge of cheese and grate it yourself.“
Dive Into the Cheesy Perks
Illana says that her favorite thing about the cheese industry is sampling the products and talking cheese with her coworkers. “I have an amazing team at Schuman to develop new products and bring them to the market. [My team] includes a French cheese maker, a South African designer and chef, a Belarussian analyst, and an operations engineer who ‘grew up in a cheese plant.’ I find myself having conversations about which cheeses pair best with Merlot for a cheese board and I think — how did I get this amazing job?” Yeah, us too, Illana!
Get a Slice of the Cheese Life
Are you dying to devote your life to your favorite snack? Illana says you should go for it. She tells us that the food industry is a male-dominated field that needs way more women. She explains, “Women are still the majority purchasers of food, and we should be driving the products we end up buying.” We couldn’t agree more with her.
She says that all it takes is the courage to break into the industry, “Many companies are eager to bring on young and different perspectives — have confidence that you can provide that value and go get the job!” Who knows; you might just end up living the life of your snack food dreams. Happy cheesing!
What’s your dream food job? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
(Photos via Illana Fischer and Brit + Co; Featured photo via Getty)