We’ve already regaled you with tales of tempting tallegios and talented temptresses when we reviewed StripCHEESE at The Charnel House. It was a fantastic event put on by people who are more passionate about parmesan than some folks are about their life and careers. And that’s precisely because the woman pulling all the strings for things like StripCHEESE will stop at nothing to get people excited and educated about cheese. Erika Kubick’s goal is to get you singing the praises of dairy delights at “cheese church” and indulging in sinful delights with her blog Cheese Sex Death and she’s doing a damn good job of evangelizing.
We talked to Erika ahead of the Charnel House event to get a little more background on why she chose to dedicate her life to cheese, and what she hopes people get out of her blog and various other efforts as a cheese advocate. Get to know Kubick better and then make sure to attend Sunday service at Cheese Church when you follow her blog.
Third Coast Review: How did you find a career in cheese?
It was a religious awakening. I was an intern for Plate magazine and they assigned me a chart to fill out about Spanish cheeses. I started researching and became obsessed with the cultural significance and stories behind every cheese. I quit my job, became a cheesemonger, and it went from there.
Third Coast Review: What made you start up your blog, Cheese, Sex, Death. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I had just quit a lucrative, entertaining job at Longman & Eagle to food run at another restaurant, but quit my first night because it was terrible. Longman wouldn’t take me back so I had no prospects: just useless degrees in both Film and English and a waning interest in comedy writing (my OG career path.)
I wanted to devote my life to cheese but cheesemongering didn’t pay. This was 2015, and I’d had many failed blogs, but decided to try it again. It took a while to get going, but in 2016 I found my stride and people started to pay attention. My followers have become really devoted. I think they like being a part of something. THey make it really feel like a church.
Third Coast Review: Why “Cheese, Sex, Death”–how do they relate?
Cheese is sexy, and you only live once! I find the experience of eating cheese extremely sensual-it’s luscious and elicits desire and excitement. It’s orgasmically delicious. It’s also very cryptic. Cheese is a product of fermentation and has aromas of decay. It’s also aged in crypt-like caves. Cheese is basically sexy death.
Third Coast Review: How do you introduce people to cheeses beyond the basics? Is there room in your heart for American Cheese?
The best burger in Chicago is at Red Hot Ranch. They use American cheese, and it’s perfect, (once you ask them to add pickles, which they will). I think basic cheeses are just gateways. If someone likes American, I would introduce them to block cheddar. From there, maybe I’ll show them a clothbound cheddar. It’s NOT about being snobby, but gently leading them to experience something new. I’d never shame anyone on their cheese tastes.
Third Coast Review: Tell us more about this new event you’ve created, StripCHEESE. We had a great time at the inaugural run and can’t wait to attend again in the future. How do all the elements fit together for this show. Why raclette? Why burlesque? Why a funeral home?
Raclette is one of the most visually stunning cheese experiences. There’s this specialty grill that makes the cheese all hot and bubbly, then this river of cheese that pours onto a plate. It’s performance art, just like burlesque. My partner on this event, Florence of a’Labia, often performs at the Charnel House. When I heard it used to be a funeral home, I knew it was the perfect place for a Cheese Sex Death event. It incorporates everything I stand for!
Third Coast Review: Thanks for talking with us! One last request: can you share any great cheese recipes with us?
Sure, but it’s not a recipe. My favorite pairing is a super gooey Harbison from Jasper Hill Farm with french fries, preferably ones from Red Hot Ranch. Just cut off the top of the Harbison and dip them in!