In the South West we are blessed with some of the finest food and drink producers not only nationally but internationally.
Stephens Scown caught up with Philip Stansfield, owner of the award-winning Cornish Cheese Company to find out a little bit more about him and their fabulous cheese!
Philip Stansfield, 54, runs the award-winning Cornish Cheese Company, home of Cornish blue cheese. He is married to Carol and has three children, who live together on a working dairy farm with 230 cows just north of Liskeard.
Tell us a little about the Cornish Cheese Company and how you started out
I moved to Cornwall in 1994 as a dairy farmer and due to poor milk prices in the late 1990s we diversified and started making cheese in July 2001. The Cornish Cheese Company makes one cheese called Cornish Blue, handmade on the farm, and this has grown from when we first started making 30 kilos a week to 3,000 kilos a week now. We employ 14 members of staff and supply our product to people all over the world including to America, Canada, Australia and the Far East.
Describe yourself in three words
Active, sociable and fun-loving.
What do you enjoy most about your life?
Producing the artisan product from start to finish, with total provenance. Also being out and about all day in the fresh air on the farm in Cornwall.
What hobbies do you have?
My main hobby is rugby – I used to play professionally for the Sale Sharks in the 1980s and 1990s. Now I enjoy watching the sport and coaching rugby to the Launceston under 15’s. I’ve coached the team since they were seven years old. It’s hugely satisfying and my son is also in the team, which gives me added interest.
What would be your alternative career (e.g. if you weren’t doing what you are now)
It would have to be something to do with professional rugby again.
If you weren’t you who would you like to be?
What’s your all-time favourite film?
It has to be ‘The Great Escape’ with Steve McQueen.
What’s your greatest ambition?
Just to maximise my business to its fullest potential really.
Who do you admire and why?
Jonny Wilkinson again because he is someone who has reached the top of his profession, has always kept his feet firmly on the ground and is liked by everyone. I think he conducts himself in a very professional way.
If you had three wishes what would they be?
I would like to travel the world, remain content and happy and see my children do well.
What book would you recommend we should all read?
I very rarely read books to be honest. People I’ve met and the things the have said to me, generally inspire me. I’m a very hands-on type of person which leaves me little time to read. I’m a very active person, rather than a sit-down-and-rest type character.
If you were stranded on a desert island what two things would you take with you? (Excluding food and drink)
My family and a boat.
What two people wold you like to invite to dinner and why?
Rick Stein, because of his knowledge, passion and interest in food and Sir Alex Ferguson, because I’d like him to reveal his secret to how he’s done so well for so long in his career.
What’s your favourite pub/restaurant?
The Crow’s Nest Inn near Liskeard – it’s a beautiful small pub serving great beer and food!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone running their own business?
Always make sure that you’ve got a market, before you’ve got a product.
For more information about Cornish Cheese, visit http://www.cornishcheese.co.uk/