Monday, February 25, 2008

Sarah Kaufmann: "The Cheese Lady"Carves a Special Niche in the Culinary Arts

n the creative world of culinary arts, Sarah Kaufmann has carved a unique niche: This former graphic artist has focused her talents on cheese. Not making it, not painting it, not photographing it. No, she carves cheese. Her work has ranged from an artful violin to a six-foot long aircraft carrier, a 120-pound Mickey Mouse to a 300-pound gorilla and, as she sculpts, an audience gathers to watch in amazement as she magically transforms familiar, taste-tempting cheese into colorful works of art.

Kaufmann’s singular carving career evolved from her extensive experience in food marketing and promotion. As Creative Director for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for 15 years, Kaufmann created advertising, public relations and educational programs to promote Wisconsin cheese and dairy products to the consumer, retail and foodservice markets. Next, she joined Jungle Jim’s International Market near Cincinnati – a six-acre mega-supermarket – where her assignment was to “sell more stuff.” She supervised advertising and public relations and, as head of creative services, she designed giant displays, created special events, and tackled all sorts of crazy projects to attract consumers to the giant store and engage them as they shop.

As a seasoned food marketer, Kaufmann knows that a special event is a powerful catalyst for drawing media attention and building retail sales. And she knows that cheese is a familiar specialty food that is widely popular with all ages and all areas of the country. Her decision to become a cheese carver combines her considerable artistic talents and marketing skills to entertain and educate consumers, the media, retailers and chefs.

Kaufmann, nationally known as “The Cheese Lady,” has received hundreds of commissions for her cheese creations, which have captured countless media impressions in print, on radio, and on television newscasts, talk shows, food shows and sportscasts. Kaufmann creates some sculptures in her studio and also appears in person to sculpt cheese at a variety of venues: food & wine festivals, supermarkets, tradeshows, state fairs, sporting events, civic celebrations and other special occasions.

Although Kaufmann loves to incorporate a number of cheese varieties into a sculpture, she most often works with mild golden or white Cheddar, in a range of shapes and sizes. She has carved from ten and forty-pound blocks to 500-pound wheels and a whopping 12,500-pound cheddar mammoth!

Sarah has created many memorable sculptures: corporate and college logos, bigger-than-life trophies, popular cartoon characters, still-life vignettes, detailed city skylines, and life-size busts of celebrities. For example, she has carved likenesses of television personalities (including Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Al Roker and Ann Curry, and Marc Sommers), sports stars (Bret Favre and Mario Andretti), and a menagerie of sports mascots (for instance, an amazing six-foot-long Cheddar Gator for the University of Florida football team, many snarling Bucky Badgers, Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish and the Chicago Bears). Her carvings have been featured on NBC’s The Today Show and Food Network’s “Unwrapped,” among others.

Kaufmann’s unmatched ability to create excitement with her cheese carving has proved to be an effective publicity and education tool for clients of all types and sizes. She enjoys working with small private parties, but she also loves to appear at major public events. In fact, talking with the public as she carves her imaginative cheese creations is part of the fun for the energetic and outgoing artist.

Traditionally, if you want someone to smile, you ask them to “say cheese!” Another sure way to get a crowd to smile: Show Sarah Kaufmann at work. When people see the sensational cheese carvings created by “The Cheese Lady,” smiles just naturally occur.

For information on Sarah Kaufmann Sculptures:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This artist is truly amazing, and seems to tackle every new subject to be carved in cheese with great excitement and as a challenge. She also obviously has fun while creating and promoting cheese--especially from Wisconsin--to her admirers.