Meet Jean-François Antony, Eleveur de Fromages from Alsace.
The son of Bernard Antony, whose cheeses are served at such places as Paris’s Alain Ducasse New York’s Daniel, and Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong’s Caprice, Jean-François was born into the lush countryside of southern Alsace, France. And following his father’s work with cheese came naturally to him.
In the early 1980’s, after meeting the legendary Pierre Androuer (“the Pope of Cheese”), his father decided to open the Sundgauer Käss-Käller (Sundgauer Cheese Cellar) on the ground floor of his house. Since then, his father Bernard and now Jean-Francois himself still select and age all their own cheeses, working exclusively with raw-milk varieties. Despite their popularity, they still sell cheeses at local markets and are very proud of their small village, believing that it’s important to supply the cheeses locally as it is to sell them to Michelin-starred restaurants.
“The best thing about my job is to see the pleasure that my cheese gives my customers,” says Jean-François, who is both an affienur (“ager”) and éléveur (“selector”) of cheese.
What are you most excited about with regards to participating in this year’s World Gourmet Festival?
It’s the very first time that I will have the chance to bring Antony cheeses to Thailand.
What is the one kind of cheese that visitors to the festival shouldn’t miss?
Comté Vintage 2009
Describe your philosophy.
Totally committed to taste since 1979! The secret of our métier lies in working with and respecting the craftsmen who are often more artist than simple producer. It is for this very reason that in the majority of the regions of France, we have been at pains choosing to work with people who have a genuine passion for and pride in what they produce. They confer upon us their ’babies’ and, for our part, we ’nurture’ them with love and infinite care. When they are ’fully-grown’ in every respect, we consider them to be ‘perfectly matured’. It is in this state of perfection in which they are then set before those hungry for a true epicurean experience: exceptional, authentic products to delight the taste buds and the other senses too.
Are there any cheeses or anything special you’ll be bringing with you from home?
All of my cheeses – they all mature in my own cellar
What do you never travel without?
My own cheeses!