People Are Making Cheese From Celebrities’ Bellybutton Bacteria

by : Julia Banim on : 25 Jun 2019 18:20
Stefano Bolognini/Wikimedia/Pexels

I love cheese, a food product which used to have all sorts of positive connotations for me.


Cheese and wine evenings when you’re feeling fancy. Christmas Stilton smorgasbords strong enough to knock your socks off. A decent ploughman’s at a country pub. Such things bring to mind happy times and deliciously savoury flavours.

Sadly, I can no longer think about cheese in an innocent and nostalgic way. I can no longer crave a volcanic toastie dripping with Cheddar. Such pleasures have been tainted for me now, and so – dear reader – I must taint them for you too.


I regret to inform you that artists are making cheese from bacteria harvested from the bellybuttons of celebrities.


Artist duo Christina Agapakis and Sissel Tolaas have swabbed bacteria from the belly buttons of five celebs, mixing the microorganisms with milk to form the most disquieting cheeseboard imaginable.

These unappetising products form part of an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and – call me ‘uncultured’ – but I’m finding it difficult to stomach.

As reported by the Daily Star, the ‘Bigger than the Plate’ exhibition features five cheeses made from bacteria taken from the following celebs: rapper Professor Green, chef Heston Blumenthal, Blur’s Alex James, baker Ruby Tandoh and Madness musician Suggs.

From this famous bunch of tummies, the artists have managed to cultivate the usually tempting products of mozzarella, cheshire cheese, comté, stilton and cheddar.

According to the Daily Star, co-curators Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan have made the following comments:

In an era of major ecological challenges, fast-changing societies and technological re-invention, now is a crucial moment to ask not just what will we be eating tomorrow, but what kind of food future do we want? What could it look like? And taste like?


Artisian cheesemaker and food writer, Rosie Cotton, has given the following comments, as reported by the Daily Star:

I know it sounds disgusting but really it’s quite clever, not all bacteria is bad bacteria. Even the cheese you see in the shops comes from bacteria. Granted, it isn’t made from human bacteria but I think this is a fun way of trying something a little bit different.

I wouldn’t necessarily say to try this at home, but it definitely shows the fun that can be had with food if you are willing to step outside the box.

To be fair, this exhibition sounds like a pretty interesting afternoon out. I would just make sure to have your cheese baguette before going to have a mosey…

Bigger than the Plate continues at the V&A in London until October 20.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Celebrity, Art, Bacteria, Belly Buttons, Bigger than the Plate, Celebrities, Cheese, Victoria and Albert Museum


Daily Star
  1. Daily Star

    Celebrity armpits, toes and belly buttons bacteria being used to make cheese