Meet Palace Culture’s founder… Mirko Parmigiani

The Grocer’s My Alternative CV series uncovers the personal and professional lives of leaders across the food and drink industry. This month, they’ve spoken to the founder of Palace Culture, Mirko Parmigiani.

Palace Culture, our game-changing plant-based cheese brand, originated after Mirko found himself creating cheese alternatives for his son at home when he became dairy intolerant.

From earning his first coin selling lemonade outside his home in Peru, to the most rewarding part of his job at The Compleat Food Group, Mirko’s motto is to always believe in yourself!

What was your first job? It was selling lemonade outside my home back in Peru! I got my first legitimate coin for a glass of fresh lemon juice. My first ‘proper’ job was working as a Bellboy in a hotel in Peru.

What’s been your worst job interview? When I went dressed in an extremely oversized Miami Vice style suit to interview at a creative agency. I looked like a clown and was sweating so much from the embarrassment. I did get the job though…

What was the first music single you bought? Indochine – L’Aventurier

How do you describe your job to your friends?  Well, that I’m a cheesemaker who makes cheese using plant-based milk, in the most natural possible way, without additives or preservatives or any oils and starches – just pure goodness.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?  The fact that I’ve sustainably created a natural and healthy product that tastes delicious, and that we can make it available for anyone to try in the UK.

What is the least rewarding part?  None, I love this job, I’m very passionate about it all. I love the challenge that it brings and I love being part of making real delicious food.

What is your motto in life?  Always believe in yourself and push yourself to the limit, take risks and learn from your mistakes but always remain true to yourself, or the product you’ve created.

My focus is to make sure our organic cheese remains as natural and as pure as the way I first created it for my son at home when he became dairy intolerant. Scaling up doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice the core values of our product.

If you were allowed one dream perk, what would it be? To be able to fly, I’d be literally free as a bird!

Do you have any phobias? The classic spider, especially large hairy ones, eek! Cockroaches too.

If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be?  I’d make more space for deliciously fermented and naturally made plant-based cheezes.

What luxury would you have on a desert island?  To stay alive, I need to eat and drink, so my luxury would be to have access to natural proteins, nuts, fruits, and clean water.

What animal most reflects your personality?  I would say an owl… Owls symbolise powerful intuition, the capacity to perceive beyond what most can, wisdom, change, silence, quick wit, independent thinking, intelligence, supernatural powers, courage, and protection.

What’s your favourite film and why?  The Goonies, it really left a stamp on me when I first watched it. It gave me a sense of adventure and courage that has grown on me through the years.

What has been the most embarrassing moment in your life? It’s hard to remember, but it was probably once when my swimming shorts washed off with the waves on a crowded beach and I had to get out of the water naked!

Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why?  

I’ve always liked Jamie Oliver. He’s always tried to change the way kids eat at school and has been in the forefront of healthy eating for everyone looking to adapt to better ways of healthy, sustainable eating. If I were to do something new, it would be to train as a plant-based chef and use both my skills and knowledge to educate.

What would your death row meal be? A truffle sourdough pizza and a hazy IPA.

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