Christine Bonney Hyatt ’91 (English), founder and creative director of Cheese Chick Productions, spent several years in Austin, Texas, pursuing a screenwriting career until she set her sights on cheese. While working behind the counter at the city’s renowned Central Market, Hyatt discovered that telling stories about different types of cheese and their makers was a lot like screenwriting—except that now, cheese was the main character.
How did Dickinson prepare you for your current career/endeavor?
Dickinson taught me to be interested in subjects from myriad angles. My passion for cheese spans a number of disciplines. Being comfortable, curious and conversant—from the science and history, to the politics and nutrition, the craft and culture of cheese—has helped me connect with many people of diverse backgrounds.
“I spent many years pushing quickly from one big project into the next, without giving myself adequate time to rest and reflect. Learning to take the long view and being kinder to myself has allowed me to refocus my energies in a more powerful way.”
What was your "aha" moment?
I absolutely followed my bliss. I sort of fell into cheese, working behind a cheese counter in the late 1990s. At the time, I was pursing screenwriting and needed a job that would allow me the space to write. Really, I was a storyteller in search of a story. In cheese, I found people who inspired me and were up to good, important things in the world. I dedicated myself to sharing that story using a variety of media: photography, food writing and video.
What advice would you offer to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow?
Be open to all the new technologies that are available for telling stories that are important to you. There is no wasted effort when your overall trajectory is meaningful to you.
What inspires you?
Being a part of a movement that creates a better food system, one that supports local and regional food production and sustainable agricultural practices. Sharing amazingly delicious, beautiful and unique products that embody this ethos is inspiring.
After my recent move back to the Pacific Northwest, I am planning a series of regionally focused multimedia tasting experiences that connect taste with place. The pastures, the animals, the landscape, the cheese making and aging will come alive through video, time-lapse photography, natural sound and spoken word. The experience culminates with a focused tasting of delicious cheeses and, hopefully, inspires people to appreciate cheese on a deeper level.
Published April 12, 2016