NewsPositively Hampton Roads


This guy is sharp: Local man one of 300 nationwide to pass Certified Cheese Professional exam

Posted at 6:04 AM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 07:55:48-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - You could say Aaron Conkling is *gouda* at his job.

Conkling, who works at the Murray's Cheese stand inside Kroger on Holland Road, passed an exam to become a Certified Cheese Professional through the American Cheese Society; one of just 300 to do it last year.

“I like all the science behind the cheese. There’s only four ingredients in cheese," he said. "Each of those you tweak the right way and you get [a few hundred] to thousands of kinds of cheeses.”

Conkling began working at Kroger six years ago, he tells News 3, and quickly developed a love for cheeses.

To be able to take the certification exam, he had to work with cheese for more than 4,000 hours. He currently oversees more than 200 types; everything from the more common cheddar, bleu and swiss to the more obscure, like brunost, a Norwegian cheese that Conkling calls his favorite.

"It tastes like caramel and has the texture of fudge. Very delicious," he said.

The three-hour Certified Cheese Professional exam tests on topics like cheese-making, storing, nutrition and marketing.