Win leaves Nashua man with cheesy grin

FOR Nashua cheese-maker Justin Telfer, winning the Palatable Partners Cup for Best Blue Vein Cheese at the Brisbane Cheese Awards was anything but cheesy.

His talents saw him take out the award with his Byron Bay Blue, a mild blue-vein cheese that is just one of the nine soft cheeses Mr Telfer creates.

“When I started making cheese in the area, I brought out a range larger than I expected to sell,” he said. “I thought some flavours wouldn't be popular, but they all ended up selling so well that I've kept making them.”

And his inspiration for a career in cheese-making is just as surprising.

“I used to be the manager of the high-rollers room in a casino, and decided I didn't want to do it any more. One night I saw one of the waitresses carry a big board of cheese in, and that's when I decided to get into cheese-making,” Justin said.

Next he enrolled in a variety of cheese-making courses at a university in Melbourne, where he later returned as an assistant to his lecturer.

“I worked in a few research and development projects there, and I really learnt how to make cheese,” he said.

Justin's first locally-made cheeses were made just before Christmas last year, and he prides himself on creating cheeses free of 'anything artificial'.

“When it's natural, you get real cheese flavours,” he said.

With variations between batches and his encouragement for seasonality, every cheese Justin makes is unique.

But it's hard work, and making cheese at his Corndale factory takes up most of his time.

Justin sells his award-winning cheeses at the Byron Bay and Bangalow farmers' markets.

“By having a direct interface with people you get the rewards of feedback and a social outlet,” he said.

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