Being a family-owned and operated business is something we are most proud of, and we consider all those who have helped this dream come true to be like family to us. We are so thrilled to introduce you to one of the newest members of our East Hill family, and this one is extra special as she is one of the three first cheesemakers that we hired! Everyone..meet Kyla Dillon!
A born and raised Rochester girl, Kyla is 26 years old and has lived in Rochester her whole life. She attended MCC (Monroe Community College) and got a liberal arts degree. She has always been passionate about food, especially baking. For the past 4 ½ years she has worked at Wegmans in the bakery. She heard about our job opening for a cheesemaker through our Facebook page and blog post and decided to apply. We are so happy she did because her youth and eagerness to learn are a refreshing addition to our team.
When asked why she would want to come join East Hill, Kyla was quick to respond that it is something completely different than what she has known and done before, and she will be able to learn a new skill. She said she is most excited about learning the whole process of making cheese in such large batches. Ms. Betty has been hard at work teaching her how to make small batches of cheese in the Burley family farmhouse kitchen the past few weeks, but Kyla knows that working with hundreds of gallons of milk on a daily basis will be much different than making a few small batches in the kitchen, and she is very excited to learn more about the process and begin making our East Hill cheese!
Another thing that really appealed to Kyla is that, as she said, “East Hill is a small family-owned business just starting to get going. It’s very apparent that they (Gary and Betty) are passionate about their business and cheese making, and it is so fascinating that they have had cows for years and are now going to start making their own cheese.” She continued, “They will control the whole process and own their milk, and there probably isn’t many cheesemakers out there that are able to do that.”
Besides food, Kyla also has a real passion for horses. Her horse, Indiglo, has been with her for around 12 years, since he was five. He was born in Texas and was a former racehorse. Kyla worked with him and trained him as a show hunter, and she did some dressage with him. Now he is mostly a trail and pleasure horse, but she is working with him on trick training and agility. Kyla is an only child. Her father works in speech recognition, and her mother works as a librarian and also at the local senior center. When she was 8 years old, a local farm was offering pony rides. One ride led to lessons, and as she said, “It snowballed from there.” She was bitten by the horse-lovers bug, and it’s easy to tell how much she loves to ride and spend time with Indiglo.
For all of our readers that are so curious when Kyla will actually get to work making batches of cheese for the world to try, it won’t be too long now. Kyla thinks that she will get started around the first full week of February, when Alex (the cheesemaker from France—go check out the blog we did on him) is coming over. The Creamery is just waiting on the right pipes to get here from France, and hopefully the cheese making can begin!
We hope that you enjoyed meeting Kyla. You will get to come see her at work in the Creamery when we become open to the public. And now, when you enjoy that delicious East Hill cheese, you will know one of the people who made it! If you have any questions for Kyla, please ask. Thanks for reading today!