Why did you become a Cheese maker?
We became cheesemakers when my Grandfather (maternal) bought the estate in 1911. Cheese making was already happening here when he bought it, as it was on almost all farms in Somerset producing more than a households worth of milk.
To say that we have simply carried on since then is too simple. All farmhouse cheddar production was banned during the Second World War so a decision had to be made to restart, in a new era when the milk could be sold easily. Luckily Grandfather enjoyed the challenges of making cheese.
For you what is the best part about being a cheese maker
It has to be the messages of appreciation from all over the world. That appreciation gives me access to a community of artisan cheesemakers who are great friends.
Who or what has been your biggest influence in life so far?
My biggest influence, after my mother who ran the show before me and therefore is too obvious, would have to be Randolph Hodgson, founder of Neals Yard Dairy and The Specialist Cheesemakers Association. His guidance on so many levels, from tasting cheese together and developing my critique, to reaching out for continuous knowledge.
As someone who appreciates really good cheese, what is your own personal favourite?
This is a question I have to answer with a question? If I had to give up either cheese or meat which would it be. Give up meat because the range of flavours available from the
worlds cheeses is so much wider than meats. I love so many cheeses but am really lucky to appreciate the very best of so many kinds. From Comte to Camembert, blues and washed.
Putting all that time and passion into your job, how do you relax?
To really get away and take my mind off it has to be windsurfing. Something I can just take off and do on an afternoon when the conditions are right.
You’re already a superhero to us cheese-lovers, but what superpower would you most like to have?
People ask us if we are super tasters, and I guess we are. The fun of grading a months worth of cheddars and seeing the subtle changes in flavour from day to day is a
privilege. I think the power to teleport myself to different parts of the world would be tops. To be able to do that a whim would be really useful.
On the subject of heroes do you have your own ‘food’ hero?
Phil Vickery and James Martin. I really like their fun approach to cooking
Tell us about your favourite place
One of the most evocative places for me is the top of Cadbury Castle in South Cadbury. It’s a Bronze to Iron Age Hill Fort and we graze our calf heifers up there. I love taking
people around and telling them about the archeology of the place. It has real feeling.
Lastly, what you would like everybody to know about Montgomery cheese?
The most important thing to know about Montgomery’s cheddar is the taste. Just try it. I’m not sure if there is anything particularly special about what we do. We are really lucky to be able to make something which seems to develop interesting notes.