We are on beautiful Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and have been a sheep dairy for 22 years. We have mainly British breeds of sheep but over the last few years have included Awassi and East Freisian.
How did you get started in the industry?
I have been a dairy farmer myself in the past, so when I moved to Kangaroo Island I came to work here as a tour guide. The cheesemaking was much more interesting so I started to learn the basics. The current cheesemaker left and I got the job; a very steep learning curve began. I have attended ACMAA and done any courses I could find in the last five years.
Tell us a bit about your cheeses - what do you make? What makes them special?
I make haloumi, manchego, kefolatiri, gorgonzola, yoghurt, labne and have just started making some lactic styles and gelato.
What is your favourite part about being a cheesemaker?
Nothing is ever the same and I am never bored and always learning. I meet really interesting people with the same passion rather often, and have a job that I’m passionate about. How luck am I?
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
Not enough hours in the day. Getting good staff.
What opportunities do you see for the future of the Australian specialty/artisan cheese industry?
Endless. Food is really popular at the moment and people want good quality hand-made produce that has come from animals that are well looked after and treated kindly. The world is our oyster!
What does being part of ASCA mean to you?
Having people from the same industry to talk to and share ideas with. Access to hard earned knowledge from passionate people. Living on an island where I’m the only professional cheesemaker, having others to communicate with is very important and motivating.