Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Things are a little 'cheesy' at a Central Coast university

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has won a national championship for some of the brie made at the university's creamery.
Cal Poly photo
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has won a national championship for some of the brie made at the university's creamery.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has its own creamery (who knew?), and some of its students just won a national championship for their brie.

There’s something very gouda happening at a Central Coast university.

Okay, that line is a bit cheesy. But, it fits this story. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo won a national championship for its cheese.

Maybe you didn't know it, but Cal Poly has its own creamery. Two students won a first place award at the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, in New York for their Triple Peak Brie.

"It's a combination that you don't really experience with many other cheeses," said Teddy Lopez, who made the award-winning brie with fellow Cal Poly student Ryan Nunes.

"It's salty, but there's a little hit of sweetness in there. It's a little bitter. It's a really dynamic cheese," said Lopez.

Lopez said what they produce shapes up well against what you find in your local market. "It's a better quality, and it's a better story, being entirely student-made."

Ryan Nunes said they made the cheese, and then sent it off for judging in the “soft cheese” category of the national collegiate competition. The duo traveled to Saratoga Springs, New York where they were on hand for the judging, and to accept the first-place award.

"We made the brie here at the creamery." said Nunes. "It takes a few weeks to get it ready and ripened...we packaged it up, and sent it off to the competition."

The win is a first for Cal Poly in the national competition, and also a double surprise for some. It’s not only the victory, but many people didn’t know the university has its own creamery.

Katy Pankey is the Cal Poly Creamery’s Operations Manager. She said some of the students working at the creamery are agriculture students, but others are there just because it’s interesting, and fun.

A student working at Cal Poly's creamery.
Cal Poly photo
A student working at Cal Poly's creamery.

She’s a Cal Poly grad who made a name for herself as a boutique cheesemaker before returning to run the creamery. Pankey says they’re proud of their cheese and ice cream products.

She actually developed the formula for the award-winning cheese, and brought it with her to the Cal Poly creamery. What makes the brie award winning?

"It's a secret," Pankey laughed.

The honors came with a plaque, and fittingly enough, a cheese knife. Pankey said she may get it framed for display.

Ryan Nunes says the community can try the award-winning Triple Peak Bree, as well as other student made products every week, through a weekly popup storefrom 12-4 p.m. most Fridays at Cal Poly’s Dairy Unit.

And, here’s a twist to the story. Nunes said he loves the challenge of make it, but doesn’t like to eat it. "I feel like that can be a problem...but, my goal is to make cheese to sell here, and to not eat my own product," Nunes joked.

But, he did admit he likes a little cheese on his pizza.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.