James's passion for cheese began in 1988 when, aged 16, he secured a Saturday job in a well renowned cheesemongers and affineurs, called James’s of Beckenham. The owner of the shop was James Aldridge. When James sold the shop in 1989, he took a full-time position with the new owners and continued to work in the retail side of the business. James was a perfectionist and paid great attention to detail and taught him everything he knows today.
In 2009, he was approached by Cranborne Chase Cheese and moved with his family down to the beautiful Dorset countryside. Since the decision was made to cease cheesemaking at Cranborne Chase Cheese, he decided to focus on his passion and concentrate on affinage, utilising the knowledge he had gained over the years, to develop his washed rind cheeses.
He has been working with Mike Smales and Paul Thomas at Lyburn Cheese and Alison French at Chalke Valley Cheese and together have developed a new and exciting range of British washed rind cheeses. These cheeses are made at Lyburn and Chalke Valley dairies and matured in his specialised washed rind maturing room in Child Okeford, Dorset.
His passion and experience has been rewarded in recent years by being selected to judge at the World Cheese Awards and the British Cheese Awards.