Celebrating National Cheese Lover’s Day with the Story of our “Cheese”
by Charles Quinto
Did you know that today is National Cheese Lover’s Day?! So pick up some cheese and enjoy it by itself, with some grapes, on a cracker, or the way we eat cheese here at StarLite Cuisine – with our vegan enchiladas!
Here at StarLite Cuisine we often get asked “Who’s cheese are you using?” and the answer is…it’s our own secret recipe! June Lim, owner of StarLite Cuisine, says 80% of the time spent developing the vegan enchiladas was spent on creating our vegan cheese. June herself spent time in the kitchen alongside a vegan with a PhD in food science to make a cheese that was ideal for our enchiladas.
Long days were spent adjusting the recipe to alter the texture, appearance and taste of the cheese. One of the biggest hurdles was producing a cheese without the milk protein, casein. Casein, also known as curds, plays an important role in most cheeses to provide elasticity and keep the cheese cohesive. After months of sensory tests in the lunch room, the pair had nailed down the silky mou
thfeel and elasticity!
But the hard part wasn’t over! They still had to develop a cheese flavor profile, another challenge with creating vegan cheese. Usually, the different flavors of cheese are formed through the addition of bacteria or fungi which act upon the curd. Since vegan cheese is not made from the curd of milk, the flavor had to be developed through other means. Iteration after iteration passed until they finally succeeded in making their very own, in-house cheese! It is through this development process that June is proud to say “our product ideas sprout from the lunchroom, not the boardroom!” Fast forward to today, as a small company we still make our own handcrafted cheese in small batches as a reminder that even the small guys can do it too!
Deschenes S. 2014. Eat the year. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press.
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