Associate - Individual

Hugh Nicholas

Cheesemonger and proprietor at Cheese etc.

Hugh Nicholas

I run a small but well-stocked cheese counter inside wine bar and bottle shop Drink Better Wine in North Sydney. I aim to serve a selection of the finest cheese from around the world, with a focus - wherever possible - on great Australian products. I also have a good range of accompaniments and hand-made cheese boards, knives etc, among other things.

How did you get started in the industry?

I've always loved cheese but it was really during my twenties that I learned about it properly. Like many aspiring musicians, I made my living in retail and hospitality and was fortunate to work at some nice places with good people that taught me a great deal. Also, a four year stint in France and Sweden gave me access to amazing cheeses that simply weren't (aren't?) available here.

What is your favourite Australian cheese?

As a new cheesemonger I'm trying as many cheeses as I can so my favourites are always changing. I've recently visited several incredible cheesemakers in NSW, Tasmania and South Australia and am dying to do a tour of Victoria, so I'm going to reserve judgement at least until then! Besides, it's impossible to choose one. Can I choose one from every cheesemaker instead?

What opportunities do you see for the future of the Australian specialty/artisan cheese industry?

Australia has every opportunity to develop a cheesemaking industry that is the envy of the world. Yes, I include Europe in that. Much like Aussie winemakers a decade or two back, our artisan cheesemakers are really starting to find their feet. That's not to say there aren't already some fantastic cheeses being made here - there really are - but with the variety of climates, the abundance of amazing farmland, the huge capacity for learning from our forebears and the ever-increasing passion for real, good food across the country, all the elements are there to develop a truly international standard of excellence.

What does being part of ASCA mean to you? 

I love sharing a club (of sorts) with incredible cheesemakers, farmers, retailers, restaurateurs, writers, judges... the list goes on. Bringing all these people together can only be good for the Australian artisan and specialty cheese industry.

website: www.cheeseetc.com.au