Locals working with locals

Paul (our very own big cheese) was born and raised in Geraldine. A stunning town located at the gateway to the Southern Lakes, this place is a mecca for quality raw ingredients and incredible artisan food producers. It’s also home to great local people, many of which help make Talbot Forest Cheese what it is today.

Paul Fitzsimons

CEO

The Big Cheese of a cheese company, Paul is far from your usual head honcho. Not a fan of suits or sitting behind desks, Paul is the hands-on boss every employee craves.

Having worked in every role across the entire business, if Paul’s not up to his elbows working on the factory floor, he’s driving a forklift in the yard. And when he’s not making Talbot Forest Cheese products, he’s teaching people how to do it themselves at a local home cheesemaking course.

Involved in cheese manufacturing since the early 80s, Paul worked for many years at the Clandeboye cheese factory before moving to the Dairy Research Institute in Palmerston North. His work as a cheese technologist saw him carry out industry troubleshooting and product development, as well as lecturing for a variety of courses within the dairy industry and at Massey University.

Having played a prominent role in the history of several New Zealand cheese companies, Talbot Forest Cheese is the realisation of Paul’s decade-long dream to make specialty artisan cheese. A dream he’s now living (and loving).

Angela Veale

Co-founder

Having co-founded Talbot Forest Cheese with Paul, Angela has been involved at every touchpoint of the business at one stage or another over the years. Now focused on the more strategic side of the brand, Angela’s secondary role is the fountain of knowledge and she’s always on-hand to help her co-workers out in any way she can.

Arriving in Geraldine via Birmingham in the UK (where she was born) and Wellington (where she grew up and studied), Angela’s background in food technology led her to build an extensive career within the dairy industry. Now settled in beautiful Geraldine, Angela lives and breathes Talbot Forest Cheese, which makes her a very busy woman indeed.

One day she hopes to see the world (and all the cheese in it). But for now she’s helping to hold down the fort and grow the business for the future.

Jason Green

Head Cheesemaker

A Geraldine local, Jason was part of the Talbot Forest Cheese team before he’d even left school. The first one to admit that cheese rules his life, Jason’s sheer passion and dedication to the craft is the key driver that’s got him to where he is today.

Now our Head Cheesemaker, Jason is usually found working in our Geraldine Artisan factory where he creates and nurtures our wide range of cheeses. And when we’re in need of a new offering, he’s called on to help with product development among other things at our Temuka distribution centre.

Andrew Fitzsimons

Production Manager

A Geraldine local, Andrew – or Brocky as he’s more affectionately known – manages the daily operations of our Temuka cheese manufacturing facilities.

Having worked in cheese plants since the early 80s, it’s safe to say that Andrew knows what he’s doing. And along with organising staff and forecasting production requirements, Andrew’s role involves commissioning and developing new products – the ultimate highlight of his job.

Father of three boys and an active member of the community fire brigade, Andrew has always got something going on. But his favourite pasttime has got to be fishing on the lake with his boys.

Matt Middlemiss

Grating Room Team Leader

Known for getting things done and grating lots and lots of cheese, Matt was born and raised in the local area and is our grating room Team Leader.

In charge of setting up the grating room and organising staff for the day’s production, Matt also resolves any issues that might spring up, so there’s never a dull moment in his working day.

A big fan of being responsible for producing a quality product that’s also local, when Matt’s not working at Talbot Forest Cheese, he’s working at home farming chickens and selling wood. Phew.

Scott Stefford

Cutting Room Team Leader

The Team Leader of our cutting room at our distribution centre in Temuka, Scott’s responsible for the cut quality of our cheeses. In charge of managing staff effectively to maximise our daily output, Scott hails from just down the road in Timaru and he’s been part of the team since 2016.

A big fan of the variety of cheese we produce, since working here, Scott has realised you can’t beat fresh cheese before it’s been sealed. And if he was a cheese, he’d probably be called Great Scott – a deliciously creamy soft variety covered in red and black wax.

Vanessa Halkett

Labelling Team Leader

A Temuka local, Vanessa keeps our labelling department running like clockwork. With a great team and department behind her, Vanessa thrives off the problem solving she has to do every day in her role, whether that’s making sure the equipment runs smoothly or thinking up new ways to make tasks as simple as possible.

Incredibly proud of the awards that Talbot Forest Cheese has won over the years, Vanessa brings a lightness to the whole company and is always up for a laugh. And when she’s not at work, she’s busy ferrying her kids to various sporting activities or whisking them off on wild camping trips.

Fiona Gillum

Dispatch Team Leader

Our very own organising angel, Fiona helps with the daily dispatch in our Temuka distribution centre. With us since 2009, Fiona loves that every day at the office is different, and she really values being part of a team who always gives 110%.

When she’s not driving a forklift, sending emails, doing the invoicing or generally just organising stuff, you’ll find Fiona either dancing (rock ‘n’ roll to be precise), walking her dogs or catching up with friends over a fancy cheese platter.

Kylie van Jaasiveld

Shift Supervisor

In charge of the day-to-day running of the shifts in our cheese plant, Kylie is our level-headed local who – like the rest of the team at Talbot Forest Cheese – absolutely loves what she does.

Proud to be part of a company who makes great cheese, follows quality processes, and has the awards to prove it, Kylie is also a keen showjumper. So it comes as no surprise that her work motto is ‘Keep calm and canter on’.

Sheree Kroom

Shop Assistant

Known for being the first on the dancefloor at Christmas parties, Sheree works on the customer services side of the business as one of our shop assistants.

A big fan of the cheese we sell and the variety of customers we serve, Sheree takes care of everyone who walks through our shop door. She also helps out wherever else she’s needed, and she does it all with the biggest smile on her face.

When she’s not at work, Sheree is relaxing with her three girls and grandson. And, if you’re lucky, she might be making one of her favourite Talbot Forest Cheese recipes; Mt Somers Blue and chicken in filo pastry finished with a sprinkling of parmesan. Yum.