Love comes in many forms. Shredded. Sliced. Melted…We prefer to nibble on it, and savour every mouthful. With a glass of wine on the table and a round of engaging conversation to look forward to, we say hello to Philip Wilton, Director of Wildes Cheese, UK. In a unique collaboration with Hyatt Regency Delhi, Wildes Cheese will embellish our cheese boards with house made artisanal cheese. Philip believes that the modern day customer’s choices have evolved as they step beyond the processed food zone to discover artisanal food. Wildes Cheese, the bronze winner at the World Cheese Awards 2014, brings to the table their passion for the quality and provenance of cheese in an array of flavours and textures.
Cheesemaking is a 180 degree leap from management consultancy. So, why cheese? What was the deciding factor for the pivot?
The opportunity to make cheese knocked at my door when I was made redundant from my job as a management consultant. It landed at the right time, when I was ready for change. I am interested in cheese because it is magical, almost a form of alchemy, in which you take ubiquitous milk and change it into a 1000 different cheeses — who wouldn’t be fascinated by that magic?
What is the most challenging part of a food venture committed to traditional, fresh and high-quality ingredients; especially in an age of quick-fix, packaged food?
Artisan cheesemaking is an art and a skill which is mastered over the years, from both success and failures. Packaged cheese, on the other hand, is a process with no soul — there is no love.
As excited as we are for this collaboration with Hyatt, why-Delhi & how-Hyatt?
We agreed to work with the Hyatt because we appreciated their commitment to food and customer service which resonated with our own — it felt like our ethical home. We have been to Delhi in the past and loved the city, and we are back.
Grass fields of the Lune Valley and Jersey cows are signature to the milk you use. How do you think the local fields and milk here, in Delhi will affect the cheesemaking process?
The milk here, in United Kingdom and that in India will definitely differ. On our part, we will ensure to source the best quality organic milk for the Hyatt Regency cheese. What is wonderful about working with the Hyatt team is they won’t accept sub-standard food either, and share our passion for quality with matched zest.
How does milk from different cows impact the production of cheese?
Dramatically. Milk can vary in its composition at any time of the year. The grass is better in the monsoon season, for example. The skill of the artisan cheesemaker lies in embracing those seasonal differences and produce top quality cheese — something far-fetched for an automated manufacturing unit.
How will the Indian climate affect the process of cheesemaking?
Our initial assessment of the impact of Indian climate in cheese is that the heat allows for a faster drying time. The heat also has a dramatic affect on an English cheesemaker — 45 degrees is an emergency.
In your time of working on special, unique cheese needs customised for specific occasions for customers, which by far has been an experience of creating something that surprised you?
That is a tough question. Every new cheese is an exploration of the unknown but we do love collaborating with other food people such as mustard, coffee, whisky, and beer.
How do you plan to expand your brand to a larger Indian audience?
We have a few great ideas that we really want to bring to India. And we are pleased to say the Hyatt is sticking with the crazy English cheesemakers.
As Wildes Cheese get the ball rolling in India we bid adieu, but not without pulling out signature DSSC Rapid Fire first.
Your favourite cheese from your own menu?
Cheesemakers that inspire you?
The best complementary dish/drink to your cheese?
A classic cheese pairing?
Cheese and mustard.
Best cheese you’ve had, besides your own?
Yet to be found.
Best place to travel to for cheese tasting?
Wildes Cheese, London.
Here’s looking forward to the new cheese on the block.