Chillies Farm Dairy wins top foodie award

Ellena Llewellyn
Ellena Llewellyn

Sussex firms up its place as a source of fine food with yet another major gastronomic award.

This time it’s the county’s lush grazing, experienced dairymen and innovative producers who have helped the county win joint top placing in a competition sponsored by a best-selling lifestyle magazine.

Chillies Farm Dairy, an artisanal cheese business set up by Ellena Llewellyn from Crowborough, is named joint winner of the Food Category in the Country Homes and Interiors Country Business Awards, run in association with School For Creative Startups.

Ellena works part time as a biomedical scientist in a hospital lab, but has always wanted to set up her own business and felt it would make sense to base it on the resources of her family farm.

After attending a one-day cheese making course in March 2012, Ellena found her inspiration and established Chillies Farm Dairy, producing artisan quality cheese in the heart of East Sussex.

Judges said Chillies Farm Dairy is special because it assures both quality and traceability. Care is taken in each step of the cheese making process, from the welfare of the animals to the finished product.

The cheese is made using creamy milk produced by Montbeliard cows and Anglo Nubian goats on the family farm, ensuring a cheese that is fresh and full of flavour. The dairy is committed to low input farming using minimal fertilisers and herbicides.

Rhoda Parry, Country Homes and Interiors editor, said: ‘The competition is about finding people who have a great business idea and helping them to get it off the ground. Ellena had a great quality product that tasted just amazing.”

Chillies Farm Dairy products are sold direct to the customer over the phone and by email. Their cheeses are also supplied to local pubs and hotels. Information from:

Ellena won a package of advice to help launch and develop her business. This includes a place on School For Startups ‘boot camp,’ a 30 minute one-to-one support session with the school’s business guru Nancy Fulton, a month membership of School for Creative Startups’ online community and a signed copy of How to Start a Creative Business: The Jargon-Free Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs by Doug Richard.