A refugee has become the next big cheese.

Cheesemaker Razan Alsous, 32, and her team scooped gold at the World Cheese Awards for her plain halloumi cheese, only one year and a half after setting up her business.

And she has revealed exciting expansion plans.

Their cheese was picked from thousands of entries from across the world to gain one of the sought after gold accolades, which are decided upon by a crack team of experts in the industry and highlight the high quality of the product.

And in the process Razann and her team, whose factory is on Manchester Road in Linthwaite and shop in the Packhorse Centre, Huddersfield, beat their first attempt in the contest last year, where she was awarded bronze.

Razan, who fled Syria and arrived in the UK in 2012, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement and we’ve moved two steps forward.

“Our halloumi is still improving and to get this award shows that it is amongst the best out there.

“We also recently got shortlisted by Deliciously Yorkshire for the cheese, which we were also really proud of.”

Only two other halloumi makers from all the entrants gained gold status, while another gained a super gold.

Razan said she is now looking for a bigger factory space to cope with increased demand and.

“We are now selling to all big farm shops in Yorkshire, including Chatsworth, Castle Howard and Keelham.

“I’m in the middle of interviews for new staff to help us meet increasing demand.

“I’m also now looking for a new factory space so that we can become more professional and increase our production.

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“On top, in mid January we hope to move into our bigger, permanent home in the Packhorse Centre, thanks to how well everything has been going.

Fans of her cheese will be able to see how she makes it on January 20, when she will appear on James Martin’s BBC One TV show Home Comforts at 3.40pm, around the time she hopes to move into a bigger shop unit in the Packhorse Centre.

Yorkshire Halloumi's Raghid Sandouk and Razan Alsous with their World Cheese Gold Award.
Yorkshire Halloumi's Raghid Sandouk and Razan Alsous with their World Cheese Gold Award.

“On it I also make a fatayer (a pastry stuffed with cheese or meat) with him which I will begin to sell at my shop after.

“So if people want to taste what they’ve seen they’ll have to come to Huddersfield.”