An Interview with Rose Grimond, owner of Nettlebed Creamery

Cheese-maker, Rose Grimond makes Bix, Witheridge and Highmoor on their farm near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. Andy interviewed Rose to find out what makes this fantastic cheese-maker tick.

Rose Grimond Nettlebed CheeseGive a brief synopsis of your business and career.
I used to work with ex-offenders in London until my greed got the better of me and I started a food business supplying restaurants and Borough Market with produce from the Orkney Islands. From there it was a move to the family farm with a young family that ignited the idea of turning the milk from the farm into cheese.

What made you get into doing what you do?
A mixture of wanting to help the farm diversify and a desire to make great food.

What is your philosophy for your food/business?
Let the food speak for itself. Great food is undeniable.

Describe a typical working day.
My days are dominated by cheese and children. Most simply: children, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, children, eat, sleep.

What’s the best part of your job? And do you have a favourite memory from work?
I am lucky enough to work with great people and there is nothing more gratifying than making good food with good people. That’s when work is more fun than work.

When you are at home what is your staple dish for the family?
I think nothing beats a slow stew. Daube, tagine, one-pot wonder. Anything made leisurely and simply that gives great complexity and satisfaction.

What is your favourite place to go eat?
That is a very difficult one. It might be a small beachside restaurant in Cornwall called Surfside that has the simplest of menus.

Do you have any other hidden foodie gems you think are worth people knowing about?
I think that cinnamon is very underrated. But most of all I have a growing obsession with vinegar. I think it is hugely under appreciated. And very good vinegar is hard to find!

Do you have a favourite cheese at the moment? If so, why is it your favourite?
I think Appleby’s Cheshire is superb at the moment. It’s so expert. I admire it enormously. I also think Tunworth is tasting better than ever.

Where do you look for inspiration in your business?
Stacey at Tunworth has been a huge support and a great mentor. Outside of cheese I am amazed at what Guy Watson (Riverford Organic) has achieved in one lifetime.

What couldn’t you live without?
Vinegar and a very lovely knife given to me by my husband and made by Savernake Knives.

What is the best success you’ve had with your product?
People genuinely seem to like it. There’s nothing nicer than an email out of the blue from someone expressing their appreciation for Bix or Highmoor. We have won lots of awards (including best soft white at The British Cheese Awards) but nothing is nicer than an unsolicited message from a cheeselover.

What is your plans for the future?
More food, a space for talking about food, cooking it, tasting it, messing about with it and a wormery. I want to build an 18-foot, glass-walled wormery so we can all marvel at the soil.

Buy Rose’s Nettlebed cheeses here >

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