Academie MonS is the cheese industry's unique hands-on center for cheese education, offering both practical and classroom training, specifically for cheese professionals.
We instill our love for cheese, our expertise, and our experience so that artisanal producers are supported, fine cheeses are cared for impeccably, and customers are well served with expertise and enthusiasm.
The Academie offers regularly scheduled courses in Europe and the United States. With class size limited to 6 to 10 students, individual attention helps students move their careers in cheese to the next level.
Academie courses at MonS Headquarters in St Haon le Chatel make use of the MonS creamery, production room, affinage facilities and MonS retail shops where students can work alongside MonS staff in hands-on ateliers that complement classroom work.
In other locations, wherever possible, courses include hands-on and visits to make concrete the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom.
THE MONS COMPANY
The MonS Company, rich with over 50 years experience, is involved in all domains of the cheese business, from production and product sourcing through affinage, national and international distribution, wholesale, and retail, with five MonS shops in France and MonS installations in ten Casino supermarkets across France, a model MonS established in 2011.
The Academie shares its roof with the MonS company, Fromager/Affineur, allowing students to be completely immersed in all aspects of the business, working side by side with MonS staff.
MonS Fromager-Affineur began in 1964 when Hubert Mons and his wife Rolande began selling cheese at the markets in and around Roanne. As their expertise grew, so did their business and they established a permanent shop in Roanne.
In the 1980s, Hubert's two sons Laurent and Hervé joined the family business. Laurent took over the family shop in Roanne. Hervé took over the cheese ripening, adding another large maturing room to the premises which was designed to mature slow ripening mountain cheeses.
MonS is now present in over 20 countries worldwide and has grown has grown to include three Affinage centers: the caves and production center at St Haon le Chatel; the Tunnel de la Collonge, a converted railway tunnel in nearby Ambièrle, and a facility in Perpezat dedicated to the affinage of St Nectaire (AOP) cheese. In 2016 a new creamery facility will be brought online in St Haon. The company has six retail shops in France, one in London and one in Neufchatel, Switzerland, and an international distribution system for the fine French cheeses aged in their cellars. MonS training has been an important component in internal staff development and professional growth for thousands of people working in the cheese industry in France since 2005.
Hervé Mons was among the inaugural class of Meilleur Ouvrier de France fromagers in 2000, a prestigious national recognition of his considerable talents and expertise. In 2005 MonS established the first international cheesemonger competition, the International Caseus Award.
Sue Sturman is the Director of the English-language programs for Mons Formation. She has over 25 years in cheese education.
At the ACS, as Committee Chair she led the creation of the American Cheese Society’s Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam program and has been a frequent presenter at ACS conferences.
She has contributed study materials to the Academy of Cheese (UK) certificate program, and teaches English for Cheesemongers for the CFPL in Paris and Lyon.
Sue started teaching cheese in 1993, as Assistant Director of the Ecole Ritz-Escoffier cooking school at the Paris Ritz Hotel. She continued in New York as an instructor at New York retailers including Murray’s Cheese, and for private and corporate clients.
In 2011 Sue was inducted into the Guilde Internationale de Fromage.
She has written articles for cheese publications in the US, the UK, and France, and translates the international edition of the French publication Profession Fromager.
She has served as cheese judge in France, Spain, Norway, England and the USA.
Sue holds the following certifications:
· American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional
· American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Sensory Expert
· Academy of Cheese (UK) Level One certificate
Academie Founding Director Laurent Mons developed the curriculum for the Academie. He also developed curriculum for the French National Centre de Formation des Products Laitiers (the French national dairy products training center), for the professional Hotellerie schools run by the CIDIL (Centre Interprofessionnel de Documentation et d’Information Laitières) and for a number of large French food retailers (Casino, Tradition Lanquetot Societe).
All MonS staff, in the caves, in the retail stores, and in the distribution network are trained by Laurent Mons.
Director of three of the fifteen MonS retail stores, he has also served on the jury for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (Fromage) competition.
In 2017 Laurent was elected president of the professional development commission of the Fédération des Fromagers France.
He and his brother Hervé own Mons Fromager-Affineur.
Ivan Larcher graduated from ENIL (the National Dairy School of Surgères, France) in 1999. He then joined the Rhodia Food Company to work as technical consultant in North East Asia for two years. Returning to France in 2001, Ivan then worked as a production manager in a goat cheeses factory near the Loire Valley for over a year and then joined the Carmejane Cheese Center - the Farmstead and Artisan cheese training institute located in Provence - to work as Education Manager and technical consultant until 2006, when he launched the Larcher Consulting company.
Since then, Ivan has provided technical support and training for farmstead and artisan cheese makers in the USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and Australia.
In 2013 Julie and Ivan Larcher decided to reduce Ivan's international travel and so built their own cheese making operation on their farm, l'Or Blanc ('white gold') located on the northern outskirts of France's Massif Central. In order to be in total control of the milk quality entering the cheese vats, they have established a herd of 10 Jersey heifers on 35 hectares, refusing to use any type of fermented food in the animal's feed. The particular composition of the Jersey milk permits them to produce butter and cream, set and stirred yogurts, lactic soft and hard cheeses; commercial production started early May 2014.
After three years of offering the program at the Ferme l’Or Blanc, the Larchers sold their farm and, in partnership with MonS Formation, Ivan now teaches the cheesemaking courses at the Lycée Agricole Rochefort Montagne, located in the heart of the Auvergne, the central plateau of France. The Lycée is a French agricultural high school, with a professional teaching creamery and access to high-quality local milk. The facilities include formal classroom space.
American Eric Meredith has 12 years of deep, hands-on experience in the field of Affinage, first at the side of Hervé Mons in France at Mons Fromager-Affineur, then developing the affinage caves at Wegman’s in Rochester, NY, and most recently overseeing the development of the new aging facilities in the Arches at Neal’s Yard Dairy in London.
Eric was the 2018 winner of the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award. He used his scholarship to study in France and England (including with MonS) to learn about troubleshooting and improving cheese ageing.
It is on the strength of these skills and the long relationship with the MonS Fromager-Affineur that the Academie Mons has established Eric as its first Authorized Instructor for the United States, teaching the Academie’s course Affinage: the Art and Science of Maturing Cheese at Sterling College’s School of the New American Farmsteadin Vermont, in collaboration with the Cellars at Jasper Hill.