Mixing sugar, spice, and all food nice

That's What Cheese Said owner Jess Moore said she loves colour and creativity.
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From cakes to cookies, platter boxes to grazing tables, there’s a plate for everyone’s palate with Ashburton’s newest novelty catering company, That’s What Cheese Said.

Owner and cookie connoisseur, Jess Moore, started the business earlier this year with the hopes of combining her creativity with her love of food.

What started as a small adventure has now grown into a flavourful fulltime business.

‘‘I just can’t believe how much it’s grown,’’ Jess said. ‘‘It has just blown up completely.’’

That’s What Cheese Said owner Jess Moore with some of her produce displays.

Formerly from Auckland, Jess made the move to forgo the hustle and bustle of the big smoke in favour of Ashburton’s laid back lifestyle, which she said reminded her of the community she’d grown up with.

She moved down in November last year, and in April she decided to lay down her roots and start up That’s What Cheese Said, an antipasto platter and grazing table business.

With years of hospitality experience and certifications in cake decorating and chocolate design, it seemed only natural Jess’s path would lead her to catering and self-employment.

‘‘I love food,’’ she said simply. ‘‘I’ve always been a foodie, I love eating out at restaurants and I like to feed people.

‘‘I feel comfortable in the kitchen. I just know that that’s what I’m good at, making food.’’

That’s What Cheese Said started as a grazing table and platter business for casual social events, but had grown to include creating custom cut and iced cookies as well as cake making and decorating.

Now Jess caters to birthdays, weddings, baby showers, business campaigns, and more, creating sweet and savoury treats for every occasion.

Though the grazing tables and platter boxes remain in popular demand, it’s Jess’s custom cookies that have people swaying between hunger, laughter, and awe.

‘‘The cookies are actually a lot bigger for me now,’’ she said. ‘‘Business branding, baby showers, weddings, birthdays … We can do personalised cookies with wedding dates or birth dates on them, it can all be customised.’’

Jess also creates ‘adults only’ cookies using uniquely shaped cookie cutters and clever icing techniques.

They’re delicious and a huge hit for hen’s parties and weddings, though whether or not the grandparents would appreciate them is still up for debate.

‘‘Nothing embarrasses me,’’ Jess said. ‘‘I want to bring some life to Ashburton, bring something different.’’

In addition to her colourful cookies, Jess is hosting ‘Cheese the Day’ cheese platter workshops.

After being asked time and time again what tips and tricks she uses to make salami roses and intricate cheese displays, Jess decided it was time to teach people the ropes.

The workshops include being able to explore arange of produce and display techniques, as well as taste test novel cheeses from South Canterbury’s Whitehorse Cheese.

‘‘We sample (Whitehorse Cheese) in the workshop just because her flavours are so different,’’ Jess said. ‘‘These ones are going to be hopefully things you’ve never tried.’’

The next ‘Cheese the Day’ workshop will be in November, and has already sold out.

With the demand increasing, Jess has some exciting plans in the works, with scouting for a new commercial premises and potential employees under way.

‘‘I’m going to have to go out somewhere to either build another shop or find another kitchen just to grow,’’ she said, claiming she’s envisioning a novelty bakery that specialises in rich, colourful cupcakes and extravagant baking . ‘‘That’s the goal is to have a shop with real boujee, over-the-top food.’’

With this being Jess’s first Christmas operating That’s What Cheese Said, she’s excited about the opportunity to indulge local festive food lovers.

‘‘I don’t want to give away too many of my secrets,’’ Jess said, ‘‘but I’m looking at doing some kind of Christmas box or Christmas desserts that people can buy for Christmas Day.’’

For anyone interested in what Jess will be creating next, check out her Facebook page: That’s What Cheese Said NZ.