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Forget sand: He has cheese

Sculptor’s medium at the OC Fair is hefty chunk of cheese that weighs as much as a few football linebackers put together.

July 24, 2008|By Joseph Serna

There is a 640-pound block of cheese at the Orange County Fair.

Let that soak in for a moment.

There is more than a quarter-ton block of cheddar at the fair, and no one gets to eat it.

For many who stop to gaze at it in it all its yellow glory, the cheese is a beacon of hope and curiosity.

One 5-year-old boy said enthusiastically he’d eat the whole thing, if only he could fit it in his mouth.

One fair visitor, Vern Steger, looked at it and could only wonder, “How many bottles of wine would it take to get a good proportion to wine and cheese?”

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Steger, to clarify, is a member of the Orange County Wine Society and originally hails from Wisconsin.

If a Wisconsin man is impressed with a block of cheese, doesn’t that mean something?

Probably, but for the man with likely the most creative cheese idea at the fair, Jim Victor, it’s just another day at the office.

Victor is peeling, shaving, cutting and in some cases, biting, his way into that block until it represents everything Orange County and its fair have come to identify with — waves, cows, barns and people among other things.

The everyday tone with which Victor talks about working with cheese takes a minute to get used to, especially when people walking by the sculpture-in-progress repeatedly identify his medium, as if trying to convince themselves of what they’re seeing.

“He’s sculpting the cheese,” or “He’s making a cow on a surfboard ... out of cheese,” and things of that nature can be heard around the enclosed, cooled glass booth Victor works in all day.

To Victor, peeling cheddar shavings away as he works on the rear of the block, it’s fun to entertain.

“Some guys do these out of sand. I do mine out of cheese,” he said.

Victor’s sculpture is expected to be completed on Aug. 3, he said.

 It could top 20,480 cheeseburgers.

 It contains 116,736 grams of fat.

 It could fill 10,240 grilled cheese sandwiches.

 The block contains 2,465,280 calories.

 It would fill 3,840 servings of macaroni and cheese.

 It would provide 5,120 servings of cheese fondue.


JOSEPH SERNA may be reached at (714) 966-4619 or at joseph.serna@latimes.com.

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