Former corporate high-flyer John Morawski has found that cheese and beer make a winning combination.

The brewer turned cheese maker decided to make use of a discarded cheese-making kit he bought his fiancé. Less than three years later he has won the Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese Award at the 2015 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

The Home Crafted category gives “hobbyist” cheese makers a chance to showcase their creations. To be eligible, cheese must not be made for retail distribution and the annual volume cannot exceed 100kgs.

Sixty two-year-old Morawski from Pt Chevalier in Auckland attempted approximately 40 different cheese styles, when a fellow beer-maker suggested trying to produce a Wensleydale-style cheese. It was his third attempt at this mild, crumbly cheese that won the award, announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at The Langham, Auckland on Tuesday night [March 16].

All his entries picked up an accolade – he won a silver medal for his Butterkase variety, and a bronze for his Havarti with Dill.

“I love experimenting, discovering and trying new things,” the Minnesota ex-pat said.

“I spent 27 years in the corporate world, and would travel to Paris a lot – it’s there that I really started to appreciate cheese.”

Unemployed for 16 months in a country that had been his home for only five years, Morawski pondered his next career move and decided to follow his passion for craft beer. He then spied the discarded cheese-making kit he bought fiancé Petra more than a year before.

“I have a Master’s Degree in Food Chemistry and find brewing beer is similar to making cheese from a scientific point of view,” he said.

“I love cheese making and wish I had got into it sooner.”

He hopes to take his cheese to a commercial level in a few years, however the current focus will remain on establishing his craft beer brewing business Laughing Bones Brewing.

For more information visit



Comments are closed.