Interview with Ian Mellis, from IJ Mellis cheesemongers (scotland)
KY: What were you doing career wise before opening mellis’ cheese shops?
I worked for the North of Scotland Milk Marketing board as a laboratory technician and then moved on to be a cheesemaker in Orkney.
After the time in Orkney, I moved to Cheshire and worked as a head cheesemaker for 7 years before returning to Scotland ( Edinburgh ) to open my first cheese shop in Victoria Street in 1993.
KY: I am curious, given how many fantastic cheeses you always have, how much travelling is involved?
In the beginning, a lot of travelling was in the uk and Ireland was involved.
Thereafter further afield travelling to France, Italy and Spain.
As the family grew, this became a little less, however, a lot of the children’s holidays were centred around visiting Cheesemakers or charcuterie curers.
KY: Given you started in 1993, how do you think you’ve managed in regards to internet/social media particularly? (your Instagram feed is one of my favourites!)
I’m afraid I never used a computer before opening the business.
I bought my first Apple Mackintosh computer the year I opened the shop, but didn’t know how to use it!!
Luckily my children have helped a lot with social benefits with my eldest son doing most of it, although, being a visual person myself, I must say I use Instagram a lot for inspiration.
KY: Have you, or would you ever make your own cheese?
Yes, I made cheese for around 10 years.
If I was being honest, I wasn’t the greatest of Cheesemakers as I was easily distracted.
It takes a steady personality to be a good cheesemaker.
I still although enjoy talking about all aspects of cheese making with the Cheesemakers.
KY: What are your plans for the future? more wine + cheese nights? more shops?
Me and my 2 boys are currently getting into our natural wines and beers.
My eldest is currently studying in Madrid for 1 year, so cheese, wine and “ small plate “ dining is a family favourite.
I probably see future plans down the line of importing wines as well as our cheeses.
KY: We are coming up to the festive season, what wine and cheese combination would you recommend for Christmas/New Year? any favourites?
IM: It’s the season of tradition, so Stilton and port, you can’t go wrong.
KY: Finally because I run a home decor co- I have to ask.. what is so good about being home for Christmas?
Its really a day of rest for the Mellis family now, so late rise, one big meal and “ muddle “ through the afternoon…
Then more sleep in front of an open fire.
Big thanks to Ian Mellis for taking the time to do this interview! If you’re in Scotland you can find his cheese shops here:
Edinburgh- Stockbridge, Morningside and Victoria St.
Glasgow- Great Western Road
St Andrews- South Street.