Cheese has been my life for over 35 years. Visiting cheesemakers, tasting cheeses and educating and inspiring a generation of people around the world to love, respect and understand the miracle that is CHEESE.
After a rocky start to my academic career as a geologist, IT nerd then trainer I decided to follow my passion and set up a small deli/café THE PARSON’S NOSE in Wellington. I loved it but cheese and Europe caught my imagination and in 1985 I sold the café, moved to London and set up JEROBOAMS The Wine and Cheese Shop. Reputably London’s finest with over 150 raw milk cheeses we supplied the likes of the Ritz and Claridges and it's still going.
My curiosity took me to markets and ripening cellars, chefs and cheesemakers around Europe and even lesser known cheese areas of the world. My expertise was recognised by the French who made me a member of the Guild des Fromagers, Confrerie de Saint-Uguzon then, in 1992, a Confrerie des Chevaliers du Taste-Fromage de France. Sort of like a Master of Cheese without exams!
In 1991 I sold Jeroboams to concentrate on writing, training and helping others set up shops and delis. My latest book WORLD CHEESE BOOK , published in 9 languages, won Best Food Book 2010 at the Guild of Food Writers awards and has sold over 90,000 copies. To spread the “gospel of Cheeses” I also write for numerous newspapers and magazines from The Financial Times to my own column in NZ HOUSE & Garden for 10 years
Speaker, Judge & Educator
I have spoken at numerous events, judged at competitions including UK, USA, Switzerland and France. I also design and run training programs around the world covering CHEESE, charcuterie, the Deli counter, merchandising, NPD [new product development] and how to START A DELI FROM SCRATCH. I can do this anyway even tasting cheese by SKYPE as I did for the Artisan Cheese Room in Manly Australia!
My clients range from the supermarket giants TESCO and M&S to one man band cheese shops. FARRO FRESH [NZ] is my newest client who have the most dynamic stores and a wonderful attitude towards their staff and the food they sell.
MY MISSION & MY CLIENTS
My mission is to promote excellence and raise the profile of artisan cheese to do this I created and subsequently sold New Zealand Cheese Awards, British Cheese Awards, Great British Cheese Festival and CHEESES ON THE GREEN.
I helped set up the Specialist Cheesemakers Association [UK], have worked closely with Slow Food since 1998 and lecture at the UNIVERSITY OF GASTRONOMIC SCIENCE in Pollenzo, Italy.
The Media & Me
I love radio rather than TV but have appeared on Saturday Kitchen, Ready Steady Cook, and The Hairy Bikers and was a winner on the TV series Come Dine with Me but the greatest honour was to have BBC 4 FOOD PROGRAMME do a programme on me, A LIFE THROUGH FOOD hosted by the legendary, funny charming Sheila Dillon. The link to listen is here.
Having Fun with Cheese
I have helped design or develop numerous cheeses for cheesemakers and celebrities from the Prince of Wales to Alex James of Blur fame.
My Juliet Harbutt – Simply the Best Range has featured in Central Market Texas, Sobeys in Ontario, Canada and GLOBUS in Switzerland and I am hoping to do a range in New Zealand.
For 5 years, as part of the Discover the Origin campaign I was paid to eat Parma ham and Parmesan along with Port, Burgundy and Portuguese wines. One of the best jobs ever!
My latest projects includes working with some of the wonderful cheesemakers, wineries and micro brewers in Hawke’s Bay including Crossroads, Pask Wines and BLACK BARN VINEYARD where I live amongst the vines.