Andy is proving to be a big cheese in the dairy world

Andy Swinscoe at his shop The Courtyard Dairy, Settle
Andy Swinscoe at his shop The Courtyard Dairy, Settle

Andy Swinscoe has matured rapidly since setting up shop – he crowned a successful first year by winning UK Cheesemonger of the Year 2013.

The former Sheffield student learned his art in France during six months under the watchful eye of Hervé Mons – one of the finest cheese affineurs (maturers) in the world.

But underpinning Andy’s passion are strict standards and a solid set of business skills developed during a degree at Sheffield Hallam University and then with support from its Graduate Start-Up Grant Scheme.

Andy graduated with a first class honours degree in hospitality business management with culinary arts before sering his apprenticeship in France,

He then spent two years as a quality manager at The Fine Cheese Company in Bath, before setting up The Courtyard Dairy in Settle, North Yorkshire, in December 2012. At the same time, Andy had six months’ help in marketing, accounting and entrepreneurial advice through the university’s Enterprise Centre. Under the start-up grant scheme he received £50-a-week – and still returns once a month to sit down with mentor Jill White of Andy Hanselman consulting.

All of this assistance was free, he says.

He added: “I don’t think we would have been as successful without that help. It’s easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day stuff when you’re setting up and running a business.”

Andy won Cheesemonger of the Year at the World Cheese Awards held at the BBC Good Food Show.The Courtyard Dairy also won Best Cheese Counter.