After graduating from university, I worked in a small independent delicatessen in Edinburgh, where I began to understand the dedication and breadth of knowledge needed to work in the fine food industry.
I really wanted to find something to specialise in and cheese had piqued my interest so I started exploring, and there has proven to be so much more to it than I thought.
In April 2021 I joined Buchanans Cheesemonger in central London. My role here is extremely varied. Every day looks a little different: from maturing cheese in our cellar, to hosting tasting events, to managing our retail offering, I love being involved in many different areas of the business.
What a cheesemonger does
In the simplest terms, a cheesemonger is someone who sells cheese.
At Buchanans Cheesemonger, we do a bit more than that, looking after the cheese in our maturing rooms and deciding when it is ready to be enjoyed in the best condition.
We act as Rhe link between the producer and the customer, whether that’s a chef or someone in our shop.
Being crowned young cheesemonger of the year 2022
It was a real validation of how hard I’ve worked and all I’ve learned in the last couple of years. I felt aware that I haven’t been a cheesemonger for all that long, and there is still so much to learn, so it was nice to have a pat on the back. I think it’s great that the Academy of Cheese are supporting young people in the cheese industry. As part of my prize, I get to judge at the World Cheese Awards next year in Trondheim, Norway, which I’m really excited about.
Have you always had an interest in food?
Yes, good food has always been at the core of my interests. My mum brought me up always eating interesting food and I loved then learning to cook for myself at university, I even loved shopping for groceries! I remember being so excited by thefarmers’ market in Edinburgh and eating new foods on my travels.
Outside of work, this passion has led to me host dinner parties and supper clubs. I also recently started studying wine and this has opened up a whole new side of the food world to me.
My advice to someone who wants to follow a similar career path
First of all, when I was younger, I never imagined I would be doing this job so it’s worth bearing in mind there’s not necessarily a fixed path to follow. I think the key thing is figuring out what you’re passionate about and having an open mind as to how that might play out in your career.
For someone who’s interested in working in the cheese industry, I would say start tasting and exploring cheese by yourself.
In London we’re lucky to have so many cheesemongers around, you can get out and taste so many different varieties of cheese and see if you can notice the differences in the ways they are matured.
Being a cheesemonger is hard work, the physical nature of it and the knowledge required are not to be underestimated but if you have an interest in cheese you’ll find it really rewarding, so I’d say just go for it! Lots of cheesemongers take on seasonal workers too so that might be a good way to try it out.
Buchanans Cheesemonger, 5a Porchester Place, London W2 2BS