We?re immensely proud that WeDO member Ailsa Proverbs was awarded an MBE for services to the food industry in the Queens June 2014 Birthday Honours List and last week went to Buckingham Palace and received her award from Prince Charles.
Ailsa (37) is the founder of award winning gift food brand The Big Cheese Making Kit, a company she founded in 2012. Just 18 months after launching, Big Cheese Making Kits which contain everything needed to make fresh mozzarella, ricotta, goat?s cheese, Scottish Crowdie or halloumi by simply adding milk, can be found in Harrods, Selfridge?s and around 200 independent retailers in the UK.? The company is exporting to South Africa, The Netherlands and Denmark and was recently awarded Scottish Edge funding and SDI funding to boost its international business.
Born in Stirling to the late journalist and author Duncan Gillespie and the Reverend Irene Gillespie, Ailsa attended Menstrie Primary School, Alva Academy and Kingussie High School before graduating from Stirling University with a BA Applied Social Science and Philosophy. She also has a diploma in marketing from Stevenson College, now Edinburgh College, and enjoyed 13 years in sales and marketing management working with Scottish Screen, Scottish Business in the Community and ProjectScotland among others.
Ailsa?s move to self-employment was inspired by watching TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall demonstrating yoghurt making techniques and wondering whether it might be possible to do the same with cheese.
Commenting on her award Ailsa said: ?I am amazed to have received such a great honour which also recognises the contribution the food and drink industry makes to the UK economy and culture. The purpose of the company is to demystify the cheese making process so that anyone can make fresh cheese easily at home and it caught on almost immediately among foodies and as a quality gift. There is a huge market outside of the UK and I am very ambitious for the future.?