"In 1985 I sold my deli-café THE PARSON’S NOSE based in Wellington, New Zealand and moved to London where I set up JEROBOAMS The Wine and Cheese Shop, a retail and wholesale company. Reputably London’s finest and still going, we offered a selection of over 250, mainly raw milk French and British artisan cheeses.
Gradually my curiosity and expertise expanded – visiting markets and ripening cellars, working with hoteliers, talking to cheesemakers and tasting endless cheese. This 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.
In 1991 I sold Jeroboams to concentrate on promoting artisan cheese through writing, training and consultancy. My first book, published in April 1998, was The World Encyclopaedia of Cheese, followed in 1999 by CHEESE, [Mitchell Beazley], and the British Cheese Directory [republished 5 times] and the cheese section in the Oxford Companion to British Food & Drink. 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. The 2nd edition is now available.
I also had the pleasure of writing articles for newspappers and magazines including my own column in NZ HOUSE & Garden for 10 years and I am still writing for SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE in the UK after nearly 10 years.
"I have spoken at numerous events, hosted the British Cheese Awards for 21 years, been keynote speaker at the American Cheese Society Conference, judged at international cheese competitions including Switzerland and France. I also design training programs, at all levels, for individuals, retailers, cheesemakers and wholesalers around the world covering CHEESE, the Deli counter, merchandising, product development andcreating sales campaigns and how to set up delis.
My personal mission is to promote excellence and raise awareness of artisan cheese and its magic, especially those made with raw milk. To achieve this I created the New Zealand Cheese Awards [I am no longer involved] & British Cheese Awards in 1994 and the Great British Cheese Festival in 2000. In 2015, 1050 cheeses from 189 cheesemakers were judged by over 60 international judges but to maintain its reputation for celebrating excellence only 33% were awarded medals, making it the toughest of all the awards. I sold the Awards in 2015 and they are now in the hands of the Royal Bath & West Show.
I helped set up the Specialist Cheesemakers Association [UK], have worked closely withSlow Food since 1998 speaking at CHEESE in Piedmont and lecturing at the UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & GASTRONOMY in Pollenzo. I was also awarded Good HousekeepingFavourite Food Hero in 2008, Cotswold Life Food Personality of the year 2008 and votedDairy Person of the Year in 2006 at the Royal Bath & West Show.
In 2007, under the Evenlode Partnership brand a joint venture with myself and Alex James, I created a range of artisan cheeses Little Wallop [Best Soft white 2009], Farleigh Wallop [Best Goat Cheese 2008] and Blue Monday[Gold in 2010] launched in November 2008. Alex and I have since gone separate ways but they were great cheeses!!
I have done numerous TV & Radio Programmes around the world but the greatest honour was to have BBC 4 FOOD PROGRAMME do a programme on me, My LIFE in FOOD hosted by the legendary, funny charming Shelia Dillion. I love radio rather than TV and have made personal appearances on Saturday Kitchen, Ready Steady Cook, andThe Hairy Bikers and was a winner on the TV series Come Dine with Me .
A recent project has been creating Juliet Harbutt’s – Simply the Best Range – a personal collection of cheeses that reflect the rich culinary history of cheese. The cheeses have been featured in Central Market Texas, Sobeys in Ontario Canada and GLOBUS in Switzerland. I am hoping to do a range in New Zealand …
For 5 years I was involved in the Discover the Origin campaign promoting the PDO & PGI products of Europe. It involved Masterclasses for the trade tasting Parma Ham, Parmesan along with Port, Burgundy and Portuguese wines. One of the best jobs ever – paid to eat, drink and talk about my favourite foods!
Plus I have had the privileged to train numerous wonderful people in supermarkets around the world like TESCO and MORRISONS doing CHEESE & CHARCUTERIE Workshops and more recently FARRO FRESH who have the most amazing stores and wonderful attitude towards their staff and the food they sell. And I feel very lucky to do a job I love, to be able to help cheesemakers who work such long hours creating such amazing products, to run Masterclasses to promote their cheeses and to work with cheese around the world"
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