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Saturday, June 22, 2024
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People at WorkJustin Tunstall

Justin Tunstall

One of the best known food businesses in the area is Justin Tunstall’s Town Mill Cheesemonger in Lyme Regis. Specialising in West Country cheeses, the shop was opened in 2009. As well as running the shop, Justin is also busy with cheese judging and writes for a speciality cheese magazine…but he hasn’t always been involved in the industry.

Growing up in Lyme Regis, Justin originally worked for Webster’s Garage in Axminster; the family business. Deciding early on it wasn’t for him he then did a degree at Portsmouth and moved into media. He worked for a number of institutions including the BBC, ran a book publishing company and became a publishing consultant, working mainly in London but also Glasgow and Los Angeles.

However, when his mother became terminally ill, Justin moved back to Lyme Regis. He bought a house and found the shop advertised in a local estate agents, although he wasn’t sure what to sell at first. Toying with the idea of coffee or chocolate, or a combination of the two, instead he followed a suggestion from a colleague and decided on cheese. Justin went on a few courses and from there his knowledge grew and grew, so much so he is now a renowned cheese expert in the UK.

Up at 6am to let the dog out, Justin then usually travels to the shop to open up. He explains: “The cheeses all need checking and turning. Otherwise, on a cheese like Blue Vinney you can have Elephant’s footing—swelling out at the bottom edge. The smell of Stinking Bishop can permeate the shop so needs portioning and wrapping as soon as we get it. One of our most unusual cheeses is the Truffled Brie, which is brie, sliced in half, with a layer of mascarpone and grated truffles. It’s a Christmas special.”

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