Q&A with Cheesemaker and Artist Dylan Stanfield
If you’ve been reading this blog or following my Instagram, you know I’m a big fan of the Cheese Artists of Instagram, folks like cheese painter Mike Geno, illustrator Debra Ziss, and cheese miniaturist Dylan Stanfield. The latter, also known as @fromagerstanfield on Instagram, is the subject of this Q&A. Dylan is the head cheesemaker at Mt Townsend Creamery in Port Townsend, WA. In addition to the full-sized wheels that he produces at his day job, Dylan has now undertaken a project — fittingly titled Tiny Cow Creamery — to reproduce some of the best cheeses out there in miniature form, using Sculpey and Fimo clay, and is turning out impressively rendered little wheels that would be right at home on the set of an Aardman Animation production. I had a chance to chat with him and find out more about his cheesemaking at both full and diminutive scale!
Name: Dylan Stanfield
Creamery: Mt Townsend Creamery
Location: Port Townsend, WA
(Below photos courtesy of Dylan Stanfield)
Q. How long have you been at Mt Townsend?
A. I’ve been at Mt Townsend Creamery for 4 years now. My time at MTC has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life. Everyday I continue to learn and be excited about the cheeses we make.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your path to cheese?
A. I come from a small town in Northern California. Growing up in an artist and farming community, I have always had a love and appreciation for food and art, they are at the fore front of my life. I needed to seek out greater adventures and opportunities outside of my small town so I loaded my stuff into my friend’s Tacoma with a one way ride to Seattle. I knew I wanted to find work in a food and art community and Pike Place Market seemed perfect. I thought I could work as a fishmonger or chocolatier. Searching for a job one morning, walking through the market I stumbled upon a steamy cheesemaking room full of milk and curds. What a glorious sight! With no previous knowledge of cheesemaking or cheese in general I inquired about a position. At 5:00 am the next morning (maybe the earliest I’d ever woken up) I was on my way to becoming a cheesemaker. I worked at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese for four and a half years under my friend and mentor Brad Sinko, learning the art of cheesemaking from a master. During my time at Beecher’s making cheddar, I fell in love with cheese and the culture. The connections I made at the market led me to Mt. Townsend Creamery with the opportunity to expand my craft. Being the head cheese maker at MTC has be allowed me to do so many things. I’ve been blessed as a cheesemaker. I’ve been able to travel to France to make cheese, I make new friends through cheese every day, I am well fed… what else could a man want.