Meet one of our lovely cheesemakers! Mandy joined us in October 2018 to help us in the run up to Christmas. Although Mandy didn't have any experience of cheesemaking before she joined us, she took to it like a duck to water. She has an eye for detail and plenty of curiosity about the process so has picked up the skills needed for cheesemaking very quickly and is now an expert in the processes involved in making Sinodun Hill and Brightwell Ash, so much so that we have even left her in charge of the cheese to take a rare few days off ourselves this week.
Mandy is like many people involved in making artisan cheeses in the UK these days, in that cheesemaking was a new and unexpected career departure for her. She is a graduate in Sociology and previously had careers in sales and administration. We actually met Mandy when our son Gabriel was a baby and she was doing part time cleaning and childminding work to fit around her young family - and on meeting her I immediately thought I could see a budding cheesemaker!
When her youngest started at school, Mandy was looking for a more challenging career again and when she innocently suggested she might be interested in some work making cheese, I pounced and got her in for a trial shift. She was not put off by moulding up several hundred Sinodun Hill and soon started working for us on a more regular basis, building up her skills and knowledge bit by bit so that she can now do everything from the complex mathematical calculations needed to work out the ingredients needed for a cheese make to the less glamorous business of cleaning drains. An eye for precision and a keen interest in the goat side of the business also help her fit in well.
What does Mandy think about working for us?
'Well, as a cheese maker at Norton and Yarrow cheese Ltd, I've seen it all! But in the last few weeks, I was especially excited at the prospect of a visit from some representatives from 'Le Manoir aux 'Quat Saisons' (Raymond Blanc's famous Michelin starred restaurant), who spent an afternoon learning the finer points of making our award winning goat's cheese. Hot on the heels of this, we were interviewed for a newspaper article, then our much loved Sinodun Hill cheese was featured in one of Jamie Oliver's cook books. I'm very proud indeed to be a little cog in this very well oiled wheel.'
I can't believe it is only just over a year since Mandy first started working for us as she is now so much a part of the cheese furniture, and it is great to have her on board.