We’re excited to share a new edition of ‘Speciality Spotlight’, championing some of our trade customers from across the UK.
In the first feature for 2022, we spoke to Peter Kindel, head Cheesemonger at Daylesford. Based in the Cotswolds and founded by Lady Carole Bamford, Daylesford is one of the most sustainable farms and food retailers in the UK. Daylesford also make and source household goods and homewares, a range that now encompasses a dedicated garden space and plant nursery.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started working at Daylesford?
I have been a cheesemaker for 27 years now which is kind of crazy. I started making cheese and then people got excited about making cheese. I moved to France to study cheese. I then ended up working in retail in Manhattan, in New York, Vermont and Colorado.
I happened to be in Upper Street NY when I saw an advert for a traditional cheese maker at Daylesford. I applied in 2007/2008 – they were looking for a Cheddar maker but I didn’t have cheddar making experience.
I ended up moving back to Upper Street New York and started making cheddar and several years later, the advert came up again. I contacted Daylesford and said ‘do you remember me?’ and I said ‘I’ve been making cheddar for seven years now and applied for the job again and got it.’
I’ve been here for six years now, making cheddar and everything else – essentially anything you can make with butter, we make.
What does your typical day involve?
We start at about six in the morning and make cheese five days a week. On weekends we pop in, for example to check how the milk is going to react. It’s a wonderful team. Everyone knows their part and that has made my life as a manager that much easier. It allows me to focus on the cheese and not worry about the rest of it. Lady Bamford (founder of Daylesford) has been the most accommodating and supportive person to work for. It’s a wonderful place to work.
What do you find most enjoyable about working at Daylesford?
Part of it is the freedom but it’s interesting in that the place that I came from in New York ran on a shoestring budget and for a very long time there was limited working capital so I enjoy the process side of things at Daylesford.
Also, because it’s such a diverse entity its really flexible. For example, when the lockdown happened, parts of the business had to close but they moved people into other parts of the business that were booming. Also, the people that I work with are just a dream and make the days enjoyable. I have six people in my team, one just retired after 19 years of service!
At Peter’s Yard, time is our most important ingredient. Time for our sourdough to ferment; time for each cracker to cook and cool to irresistible crispness. What would you say is most vital to producing award-winning cheeses at Daylesford?
Patience is a huge one which goes hand in hand with time to keep consistency. Attention to detail is also always critical. There’s also a good level of science to it too in that you have to be fairly particular when something is out of the norm. You have to be diligent about making sure the quality and integrity of ingredients is constantly monitored. There is a focus on testing and amassing data at Daylesford too, which is very rare in the cheese world.
At Daylesford, we make two different blues. I’ve fallen in love with them because they’re just such unusual cheeses and have such a strong flavour that involves a lot of different techniques that I’ve learnt over the years. Also, the end result is stunning. It makes my heart sing!
Finally, what’s next for the Creamery at Daylesford?
We need to grow the business further. A lot of our online presence went through the roof, including Ocado, during lockdown so we have the opportunity to showcase further online. We have a very large facility here now so we’re focussed on expanding and not compromising on quality. It needs attention to detail, staff training and integrity – not being driven by strictly profit but quality too.
A lot of my background in cheese is from being in France so you don’t necessarily eat crackers with cheese, you usually have bread. All around the world there are different approaches to cheese and I do absolutely love crackers with cheese. I think overripe cheeses such as blues absolutely scream for a cracker!
Head over to Daylesford to discover more.
Sourdough crackers and crispbreads
Our hand-baked sourdough crackers and crispbreads are the perfect accompaniment to artisan cheeses, cured meats and dips.