Francis will be speaking at the festival's opening Woking Works business event, 'Showcasing Surrey's food and drink industry'.
This ticketed event, hosted at WWF-UK's Living Planet Centre, will take place on Friday 30 August from 9.30am to 11.30am.
Talk title: The British cheese scene and the future of cheesemaking in Surrey
Summary: Early in 2019, Francis visited 100 cheesemakers in 100 days, wild camping. The talk will touch on the tour, as well as the history and current situation in British cheesemaking. As a cheesemaker in Surrey, Francis will highlight the challenges and opportunities for developing more cheesemaking in the county.
Francis has been passionate about taste since his late teens when working as a trainee manager at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. There he found a love for wine and became a sommelier. A promotion to head sommelier followed nine months later, only a year after he was legally entitled to drink!
Eager to experience more, he moved to London, where he worked for a fine wine and whisky importer. After four years, which included tastings, travel and exams, it was time for a sabbatical and he left the country to try his hand at winemaking.
After completing harvests in Australia, New Zealand, California and Romania, he returned to London. His experiences led him to prepare training courses for the hotel and restaurant industry and many of the formats have evolved into wine tasting shows for Taste of the Vine, which Francis started with his wife Pam in 1997.
Francis now spends his time between hosting events for Taste of the Vine, wine and cheese writing and cheesemaking at Gimblett Cheese in Haslemere, Surrey, a micro-dairy he and wife Pam set up to serve the local community and provide input for Taste of the Vine's cheese events.
When not entertaining, writing or cheesemaking, Francis can be found campaigning for British Cheese or walking the dog on Hindhead before a pint of one of the county’s great ales.