Known as ‘Deaves the Cheese’ by some, David Deaves is the manager at Curds & Whey and Cases Wine Bar on Western Road, Hove. Nick Mosley delves into the details with the man who knows more than most about the wonderful world of artisanal cheese.
Tell us about yourself and your passion for cheese…
My love of cheese started exceedingly early, growing up in Lancashire. A good Lancashire cheese was a kitchen staple, and always in the fridge to nibble on.
My love of cheese grew even more while working in country house hotels before moving to London and working in event catering and planning. After being made redundant in 2010, I spent a year out and during that time came across a job vacancy for a manager in a cheese shop in Hove, the rest is history. It’s the perfect job to fill my cheese cravings and also working in the hospitality industry that I love.
Where is Curds & Whey and when was it established?
Curds & Whey by day – and Cases Wine Bar by night – opened its doors at the end of February 2020. You’ll find us on Western Road, just around the corner from Brunswick Square.
How did the idea for the business come about?
Directors Phil Bartley from the Great British Charcuterie and Steve Pineau from L’Atelier du Vin approached me when the old cheese shop I was working in closed suddenly. Both Phil and Steve saw an opportunity to bring cheese and wine back to Hove with a different but still familiar concept. I put them in contact with the right people and they asked me to return if they secured the lease.
What is the offering in terms of retail, dine-in, events etc?
Curds & Whey sits in unison with Cases Wine Bar. It’s the perfect fit; who doesn’t like a good wine with great cheese.
Curds & Whey offer the absolute best of British farmhouse and artisan cheeses with lots of local Sussex cheeses to choose from alongside some Continental guest cheese and a growing range of British Charcuterie. A popular product to order is our bespoke cheese ‘cakes’, which are perfect for weddings and other special occasions.
On the wine side, we specialise in English Sparkling Wines with a selection of over 30 wines alongside Bordeaux and Burgundy wines to drink in or take home. Sitting alongside the many wines from around the world is a menu of cheese and charcuterie platters curated by Curds & Whey to pair with the wines.
We will start running cheese and wine tasting events in the shop very soon and the venue is available for hire for private events and celebrations.
How many on your team and who are they?
We only have a small team at present because of the pandemic. On the cheese side we have Seb and Harry and on the wine side we have Istvan and Maria. I work in the cheese shop during the day and the wine bar at weekends.
How have you coped/adapted during the pandemic?
I can’t pretend that it hasn’t been an incredibly challenging year; being a new opening in 2020 we had to rapidly adapt. While being able to keep the cheese shop open throughout the lockdown, we had to close the wine bar side, so we took it online and hosted several virtual cheese and wine tasting for customers to enjoy. What started as 10 to 16 people has organically grown into corporate tasting for up to 100 guests. Clients choose their package and we do the rest, it’s a simple as that.
What would you like to tell people about your business?
As a local business we are here to serve the community. We love it when customers pop their heads around the door to find out what cheeses are just right to eat or what is drinking well. Our team on both the cheese side and wine side enjoy sharing their passion.
What are your plans/hopes for the future?
The company directors have not been sitting on their laurels during the pandemic. We opened a cheese and wine venue in London’s South Kensington in May, so who knows what the future will hold, or where it will take us.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
We are looking forward to welcoming customers old and new to the shop and are currently planning ahead for Christmas.
Curds & Whey, 34-35 Western Road, Hove BN3 1AF • 01273 732915