Changing attitudes ... the cheese room in a Simon Johnson store.

Changing attitudes … the cheese room in a Simon Johnson store. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

Turn back the culinary clock 25 years and the choice of cheese amounted to cheddar and yet more cheddar.

Then people such as Richard Thomas and Gabrielle Kervella started making artisan varieties and, in 1989, a young New Zealand chef not long out of the kitchen began selling more interesting cheeses.

One of Simon Johnson’s first orders was from Serge Dansereau, the pioneering chef at Kables in the then Regent Hotel, now the Four Seasons. Johnson made the delivery in the back of his Honda Civic.