Interview with big cheese Philip Stansfield



How did it feel beating 2632 other cheeses from around the world?

It just felt very surreal. I know I went up and got the trophy and everything but it was very hard to believe and take in really. My legs were shaking and it was all such a big shock that such a small cheese maker like us had gone all the way and done so well, and there was that daunting thought, how’s it going to change the business?

saffronbunny-food-blogger-cornwallHow did you celebrate?

With a glass of water. Pink, fizzy water. And a lot of champagne.

Describe Cornish Blue in three words

Soft, mild and creamy. It’s an easy eating cheese and the ladies like it which is really important because they’re the ones who tend to do all the shopping.

Are you a big cheese eater?

Yeah, I like cheese, I don’t tend to eat a lot of my own cheese unless we have people round, but I do like Wensleydale, Cheshire, Lancashire; I like the hard territorial cheeses, not as hard as cheddars. I like  Davidstow but probably prefer Cathedral City and I like some of the farmhouse cheddars; Yarg’s alright, it’s a bit too bland for me but it has a fantastic market and the novelty value of the nettle leaves.

Describe the man behind the cheese …

I used to play a lot of rugby so I still try and get involved, I go and watch or coach my boys. Rugby was my first passion, then I became a dairy farmer then I became a cheese maker. I just missed out on being a professional rugby player because the game became professional the year I moved down here and bought the farm.

Are you a foodie? Do you live to eat or eat to live?

I am a foodie, I love watching the TV chef programs and I love going to good restaurants and eating good food; we do quite a lot of that now. I haven’t got any favourite chefs, I think they all do a great job. I love seafood which is obviously good in Cornwall, and beef, a good steak. I’ve got quite simple tastes really: good food cooked well but not tarted up too much.

Describe what you’d have for your last meal on earth

I’d probably have a 16oz sirloin steak from a Devon Red Ruby steer. If it’s matured and hung right, it just melts in your mouth. It’s not a rare breed, more an extensive breed than an intensive one. If it’s properly prepared the meat is beautiful and the knife just glides through it.

What do you think the future holds for Cornish produce?

I think Cornwall produce’s got a fantastic future and it has a fantastic brand name. Everybody throughout the country is fascinated by Cornwall. It sticks out on a limb, it’s virtually surrounded by sea and produces great food. There’s a whole array of quality producers and restaurants, chefs down here. It’s certainly booming.


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