Erika AKA @CheeseSexDeath is a sexy cheese gothic goddess, all things you never thought you would hear to describe a person, but hey, it works! Her knowledge and passion for cheese is so apparent that you can’t help but get excited when you listen to her describe the flavor notes of each cheese and what to pair it with. I have at least five cheeses in my fridge at all times, so listening to Erika preach about Cheese Church is a damn blessing.
It’s hard to picture it, but she wasn’t always praying to Cheesus. After college, she was working at a waxing salon where a client connected her to an internship at Plate Magazine. One of her assignments was a project to research Spanish cheese. It was during this process that she quickly became infatuated with all of the varieties of cheese along with the history and stories behind them. She applied for a job at Pastoral that same day. Erika quit her job at the waxing salon to become a cheesemonger a month later. After that, she worked a series of other jobs including a food runner at Longman & Eagle, social media for both Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants and Lifeway Foods, and digital marketing for Culture Magazine. It all came full circle in January 2019 when Erika returned to Longman & Eagle (five years later) to host her very own cheese and whiskey pairing class that sold out in two hours.
Erika not only exemplifies a successful entrepreneur, she’s an advocate for the cheese industry and small businesses. She works with local creameries and vendors for her tasting classes. With the proposed tariffs that could significantly affect the cheese industry, she has been helping educate cheese lovers alike on how they can help make a difference.
- Favorite cheeses?: Fav cheese?! Who’s your fav child?! LOL but srsly, it changes everyday. Now that the holidays are coming, I’m here for my seasonal queens: Rush Creek Reserve (a gooey sex bomb that tastes like pine and bacon), Black Betty (an aged goat gouda that tastes like pineapple upside down cake), and Rogue River Blue (indulgent fudge queen that’s wrapped in pear brandy soaked syrah leaves) are some of my fav lays!
- Stores that you recommend in the city?: It’s tough, Chicago doesn’t have a lot. I love All Together Now! Small selection, but so well curated. Pastoral and Eataly are pretty good too. We’re getting a shop in Logan Square called Beautiful Rind and I’m going to spend a lot of time there.
- Future goal/vision for Cheese Sex Death: I just want to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m always manifesting a bigger audience so I can preach the good curd word to more and more cheese sluts.
- Anything else random about you that most people wouldn’t know and you would like to share: I’m obsessed with Britney Spears and my cat, Chandler Bing. Also, I made a documentary about drag queens in Cologne, Germany in college.
- Advice to other people that are pursuing their passion?: Don’t do it for anyone else, do it cause you love it. I’m always worrying about engagement rate and web traffic, but I’m at my happiest when I forget that shit and just enjoy myself. When I preach about what I’m most passionate about, I’m at my best!