Top chefs protest against expensive cheese regulations

Chef Joe from Tantalus Estate holds up a wheel of Cwmglyn to support artisan cheesemakers. PHOTO/TWITTER
Chef Joe from Tantalus Estate holds up a wheel of Cwmglyn to support artisan cheesemakers. PHOTO/TWITTER

Chefs from top restaurants are protesting in one of the ways they know best - with food.

Chefs from The French Cafe, The Grove and Waiheke vineyards are posting up photos holding award-winning artisan cheeses to encourage more reasonable regulation costs for producers.

The makers of Mount Eliza and Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese are currently trying to change expensive regulations that are at risk of preventing them from continuing their work.

Biddy Fraser-Davies, 74, was recently billed $10,000 for testing 10 Cwmglyn cheeses, compliance costs were on top of that.

The Grove chef Josh Barlow wants to protect locally made dairy products. PHOTO/TWITTER
The Grove chef Josh Barlow wants to protect locally made dairy products. PHOTO/TWITTER

Josh Barlow, a chef at The Grove, got behind the campaign on October 10 to try and protect the dairy product.

"It's such an amazing New Zealand product it would be such a shame if we were to lose it and the tradition behind it.

"If it were to disappear because of all this red tape, bollocks - it's just not fair."

Barlow said The Grove has used the cheese for over two years on their cheese course. They pair it with homemade crackers and jellies to let the cheese "speak for itself". It's one of his favourite cheeses.

"It's out-of-this-world stuff."

Chef Bronwen Laight, from Te Motu Vineyard, throws a wheel of Cwmglyn in solidarity with artisan cheesemakers. PHOTO/TWITTER
Chef Bronwen Laight, from Te Motu Vineyard, throws a wheel of Cwmglyn in solidarity with artisan cheesemakers. PHOTO/TWITTER

Barlow said if The Grove could no longer obtain artisan New Zealand cheese they would be forced to import which would diminish the quality and the story of the product.

Sabato cheesemonger Calum Hodgson, who distributes the cheeses, came up with the photo idea early this month. He asked around 10 chefs who were "all up for it".

"I just wanted to do something that showed support and kicked it into a different conversation that wasn't so nitty gritty."

He used the hashtag #AllWeAreSayingIsGiveNZCheeseAChance as it references John Lennon's song Give Peace a Chance.

"This is all about protecting something I'm very passionate about."

Fraser-Davies said small artisan producers like her are being pushed to the brink by government regulations and the cost of compliance and testing.​

Cwmglyn cheese was the winner of a super gold award at the British Guild of Fine Foods 2014 World Cheese Awards in London, and picked to be on the menu for Prince George's Government House playdate the same year.

Fraser-Davies presented her argument to a select committee for the Food Safety Law Reform Bill on October 13.

- NZ Herald

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