Friday, 2 July 2010

How it all started

I grew up in a dairy-farming community in Northern England and can still remember milking my first cow! My grandparents all produced their own cheese and it was always taken very seriously in the community – my next-door neighbour’s sole job was to cultivate the bacteria for making the cheese at the factory down the road, and he’s still doing it now, 20 years on, at Appleby Creamery. From an early age I began to realise how wonderful cheese can taste when the whole process is executed with care.

After school I left England for France to work, which fueled my interest in food and all things nice! Consequently I decided to study for a BSc in Hospitality Management with Culinary Arts at Sheffield Hallam University, enabling me to study whilst all the while concentrating on fine food (who wouldn't?). As part of this I worked for over a year in The Balmoral Hotel's Michelin starred restaurant Number One. There I became further involved in cheese, taking responsibility for all the restaurant's cheese-oriented offerings, even making my own cheese (although you could break teeth on my Brie!). For my achievements at The Balmoral I won a national award (Young Guns).

After all this excitement I decided to run the Medoc Marathon through famous French vineyards. Here again I reconfirmed my love for cheese (and, naturally, wine), so I decided that once I'd finished, I'd immerse myself in all things cheesy. Consequently, I went to work for a brief period at London's famous Paxton and Whitfield Cheesemongers. Now, thanks to a scholarship from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust I'm off to learn from the famous Mons Fromagerie in France, followed by some studying with Anfopeil.

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