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50 Places, people and trends in Food by the Observer Food Magazine (2015)

Observer Food Monthly’s favourite things, all in one place:

23: Carlos Yescas

Five years ago, Mexican native Carlos Yescas was employed by the United Nations as a migration and development expert. His task? Developing job opportunities for those who might otherwise decide migration was their best bet, despite the possible dangers. As he began to “understand the complexities of migration for communities that are disenfranchised at home and abroad”, he resolved to make a direct impact on people’s lives.

So Yescas founded the Mexican Institute for Cheese, his cheese distribution company, Lactography, and its retail outlet Queso Store in 2011 with his sister Georgina Yestru. The mission is to “promote Mexican cheeses in Mexico and abroad, support local cheesemakers, and educate the consumer about traditional Mexican cheese”. Being a self-described “cheese nerd” might seem a long way from the UN but for Yescas there are parallels. “I figured I could do the same work I was doing at the UN by ensuring that cheese makers in Mexico had a place to distribute their cheese. This gives them the option not to migrate and ensures that the traditions they’re preserving endure.” Today, the company sells more than 60 cheeses, including some that had almost disappeared, such the tangy Corazón de Mantequilla, while at the same time providing opportunities for local families who until recently considered migration their only option.

Originally published on: Sunday, 15 March 2015 - The Guardian