FARGO—The newest catering company in town is also the cheesiest, and Megan Lewis wouldn't have it any other way.
The owner of Milk Made is a cheesemonger and makes her living working with cheese. It's similar to sommeliers for wine or fishmongers for fish, she said.
But even before she had her eureka moment and realized this could be the perfect way to combine her passions for cheese, food styling and people, Lewis was well on her way to becoming a big cheese.
The native of New Rockford, N.D., was an adventurous eater from an early age despite her upbringing in a meat-and-potatoes family, and she enjoyed trying new foods whenever she could. She found her calling as a teenager when she ordered an artisan cheese platter for the first time.
"I had my first soft-ripened goat cheese, and I remember it just clicked in my head and I was like, 'This is what cheese should taste like,' " she said.
Now, she's ready to use her new catering company that she launched May 1 to spread her love of artisan cheese.
Milk Made is based out of Abovo, a marketing and design company at 218 Broadway N. that also has a large events space where Lewis held her first open house Thursday, May 25.
The event drew about 75 attendees who nearly finished off an impressive amount of cheese, including the debut of her "grazing table" option where she turns an entire table into a big cheese platter.
Lewis preps her platters, which range in price from $75 to $300, at commercial kitchen facility Square One, 1407 1st Ave. N.
It's work that allows her to combine the culinary training she got at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, where she earned a two-year degree in 2010, with her passion for cheese.
She had originally hoped to be a food stylist, a job that's all about staging and presenting food in an appealing way for photos or videos. But as she got married and started putting down roots in Fargo, she said she knew there wouldn't be many opportunities to do that here.
That's when Lewis got into retail and started working at Pinch & Pour, 210 Broadway N., where she helped start the shop's artisan cheese program about two years ago. She got home one day and told her husband that she wanted to work with cheese, and she said she's grateful that he supported that unusual career choice.
She's well aware of people's hang-ups with goat cheese, blue cheese or other varieties. Still, she said there are many options and one blue cheese can be completely unlike another, so she likes to encourage people to keep an open mind.
"What I try to do is make cheese more approachable and make cheese seem not so intimidating," she said.
She accomplishes that by making custom platters for anything from a quiet house party to a large corporate event, combining things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, charcuterie, locally made bread and, of course, cheese.
But Lewis also plans to spread the good word through other outlets, such as monthly events at Abovo and classes around the community. She said there are endless possibilities of what she can do with the "very simple but complex" food that she's come to love.
"There's something about cheese that's comforting and delicious and just pleasing to people," she said. "I display it in an artful way, but it's because I'm working with a product that's naturally beautiful."
What: Milk Made
Where: 218 Broadway N., Fargo
Hours: By appointment
Phone: (701) 302-0440