The Yorkshire Dama Story

Yorkshire Dama Cheese is a story of inspirational bravery by a woman who refused to let her circumstances define or constrain her. It is about finding a new place to call home and new experiences which has led to the creation of a British multi-award-winning cheese and dairy company.

Here Razan Alsous, the Founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, tells her personal story:

“We came to the UK after the war in Syria in 2012. With my husband and three young children, we had lost almost everything and had to settle into a new life in Yorkshire.

Initially, I began searching for a job but despite having a pharmacy degree and a scientific background my lack of references and work history in the UK made it extremely difficult.

After some time I started to look at other options. I have three children and wanted so badly to build a bright future for them. So I started to think what was around me – the expertise I could tap into, the sources of support and other opportunities available to me."

Razan Alsous - Founder of Yorkshire Dama

I came up with the following:

  • I have a strong microbiological background, having graduated from the Medical Institute in Syria.
  • My husband is an electronic engineer who ran his own business supplying the pharmaceutical and food industries in Syria with Quality Control labs.
  • I was now living in Yorkshire where the wonderful, high-quality milk is available locally (and I believe is  it is a national value).
  • The government is very supportive of the creation of start-up business. 
  • Nowadays the Syrian cheese (a squeaky semi-hard cheese) that I know and ate every day for breakfast in Syria is very trendy in the UK and British people love eating it!

As I couldn’t find a great tasting quality squeaky cheese anywhere in the supermarkets or local independent farm shops I then had a brainwave: why not create a business and make myself Syrian cheese from fresh high-quality British milk!

And so started our journey - with an idea and a start-up loan of just £2500 from the Local Enterprise Agency. We had to adapt the equipment we bought and then finally got the approval to start manufacturing cheese in June 2014. 

After just four months of production, we won the WORLD CHEESE AWARD Bronze Prize 2014/15, highlighting the true quality of our cheese.

Growing Business

Early 2017 we have moved to new premises to expand our business and we've been honored to open our new factory with the presence of HRH The Princess Royal on 24 Jan 2017

The Yorkshire Dama Story with Princess Anna

Local to National Recognitions

Local Awards

Yorkshire Awards

National Awards

2017 Royal Highland Show - Yorkshire Dama
2017 Royal Highland Show - Yorkshire Dama

Great Yorkshire Show 2017:

  • Gold - Spreadable Yogurt "Labneh"
  • Bronze - Original Squeaky Cheese

Best cheese in Yorkshire 2016

  • Best Chilli Variety

Royal Highland show 2017:

  • Silver - Smoked Squeaky Cheese
  • Bronze - Rosemary Squeaky Cheese & Chilli Squeaky Cheese 

The British Cheese Award 2016

  • Silver Prize

World Cheese Awards 2017/18

  • Bronze - Matured Yogurt Balls

Other Recognition

  • Won The World cheese Award - Gold
  • Selected 6th as Yorkshire Entrepreneur of the Year 2014
  • I became an Ambassador for the Enterprise Agency Start-up Loan 2017/2018
  • Nominated for Women of the Year in London 2016
  • Nominated by the Prime Minister for International Womens’ Day 2015
  • Shortlisted Best Cheese in Yorkshire Deliciously Yorkshire Awards 2015
  • Yorkshire Dama Cheese Shortlisted Best New Business in Yorkshire 2015 Deliciously Yorkshire Awards
  • Shortlisted for the British Muslim Awards 2016
  • Appeared on the celebrity chef James Martin’s TV programme Home Comforts - January 2016