In my mailbox the other day, along with the bills and flyers, I found a mini-magazine from Trader Joe’s. This was no mere catalogue with pictures and prices, I discovered leafing through it, but a collection of stories about the history behind different foods, unusual recipes, and descriptions to make your mouth water. Certainly no one would call me a master chef, but I found myself really getting into it. I could especially relate to the story about how Fontina Cheese is made.

I learned that the origins of this cow’s milk cheese go back more than a thousand years to the Italian Alps. Now Fontina cheese is made all over the world; Trader Joe’s Fontina comes from a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker. Besides describing Fontina’s unique nutty taste” with a hint of honey”, the writeup explained what it takes to earn the designation Master Cheesemaker.

“To attain the level of Master Cheesemaker, the artisan must have at least ten years of licensed experience, take many courses, and complete a three-year apprenticeship for each cheese for which certification is sought,” I read with amazement. (Now I was truly interested, because the article brought to mind all the rigorous preparation I had needed to become a Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist.) “Even after certification, to ensure quality and consistency, samples of a Master’s cheese must be submitted for evaluation.” This exactly parallels the Continuing Education requirements for bankruptcy attorney certification!

Why is certification so important in any field of endeavor? As I brought out in Bankruptcy Lawyer Certification – Not Just Paper On The Wall, attorneys who are certified are held to a higher standard of care – more is expected of a certified professional. The Trader Joe magazine summed it up aptly, “What does the Master Cheesemaker designation mean to you? Long story short, really great cheese!”