Photos by Hillary Ehlen, J. Alan Paul and special to Fargo INC!
When Megan Lewis graduated from culinary school in 2010, she wasn’t quite sure where her food journey would take her. After a stint in catering, Lewis left the culinary world for a while, eventually returning to launch a cheese program at a local boutique.
“Having always loved cheese, I finally felt like my education and real-life met and fell in love,” says the owner of Milk Made Catering, a local cheese-centric catering company that focuses on quality artisan producers and community education. “When given the opportunity to create a cheese platter, I was hooked. Hence Milk Made, a beautiful combination of cheese, food styling and people.”
“Originally, I was a little worried that what I was doing might be too niche for our region, but I’ve found that people here are really excited about new things.”
Being an entrepreneur, what’s your favorite part of what you do?
It’s the creativity. Everyday is a blank slate. I have creative reign over my entire business, which I love.
I get to choose, handpick, and pair every product and see it go out to someone who’s going to love it and enjoy it. That’s very fulfilling.
How do you stay current in your industry?
I’m a food documentary, podcast and book junkie. I also eat a lot. I go to food shows and conferences, where I get to talk with the niche of people who are just as excited about cheese as I am.
Locally, I’ve been trying to get more involved with First Fridays at the B, volunteering with food-based organizations in Fargo and sourcing more local products. And currently, I’m studying to be a certified cheese professional.
Laura Caroon and Danyel Moe are the cofounders of Ladybosses of Fargo-Moorhead, a local networking group for women that’s focused on creating a casual atmosphere and making genuine connections. Each month in Fargo INC!, they spotlight one of the members from the group.
What’s the best part about running a business in Fargo-Moorhead?
Fargo-Moorhead is a very supportive community for people who are trying to do something unique and different. Originally, I was a little worried that what I was doing might be too niche for our region, but I’ve found that people here are really excited about new things. People are genuinely appreciating what I do, and that’s been so humbling and rewarding.
It’s also fun to network and meet other people in this community. I’ve already done a lot of collaborations with other businesses in the area, especially other really small businesses like mine. I love when other entrepreneurs and community organizers come to me with ideas for ways we can work together.
Who’s a typical Milk Made customer?
My customer base is really a wide range of people. People who tend to take my classes and participate in events are those who have taken an interest in food and have a little bit of knowledge about what quality cheese is but want to broaden their knowledge base.
A lot of Millennials have become interested in where their food is coming from, so they take my classes to be better educated consumers and create those connections with where their food is coming from. The best part of being a cheesemonger is knowing the story of where the cheese is made and then getting to share that story with others.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? And yours to offer?
When I first started Milk Made, someone told me that, “You don’t want to be a shooting star in your business because you’ll fade out.” I wanted to be decisive about my business and started out small and under the radar. I had to have confidence in what I was doing, the quality of my product, and know that what I was offering was different and unique. I was okay with the business taking time, growing through word of mouth, and having a trajectory of its own.
My advice to others is to find what you love and do it unapologetically. You first have to have the passion, drive, and vision and eventually people will get on board and see it, too.
How can the local business community support you?
Partnerships and collaborations, coffee dates, advice, encouragement, those things go a long way and are things you can do to help out any Ladyboss. It’s important for women to support other women-run organizations.
Where can people find you?
I prep my platters out of Square One Kitchens, an incubator kitchen in Fargo co-owned by Ladyboss Casey Steele. Online, you can find Milk Made on Facebook and Instagram and at our website, MilkMadeCatering.com, for the full menu, a gallery of products and to learn more about why I’m doing what I’m doing.
You can also find cheese and pairing classes and education on my page. They tend to sell out quickly, so the best way to make sure you’re the first to hear about them is to sign up for our newsletter.