Rennet & Rind | Affineur of the Year 2023 | Competitor

Who are we?

Perry is a Certified MonS Affineur, working and studying under Hervé Mons, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Artisan Craftsman of France), in the MonS maturing cellars located in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region. Perry is ‘Head of Cheese’ at Rennet & Rind, responsible for maintaining strong relationships with our British cheesemakers, regularly visiting them on the family farm to batch select our cheese. Perry also looks after the Rennet & Rind maturing room, using his expert knowledge to ensure every cheese that leaves us arrives to you at its very best. Perry achieved the accolade of being Britain’s first ‘Affineur of the Year’ in 2022 for his ‘Priscilla Cheddar. 

Perry Wakeman crowned Affineur of the Year
Perry Wakeman being awarded the title of ‘Affineur of the Year 2022’, with Mary Quicke

Which cheeses have you chosen to mature?

Quicke’s Cheddar 

Fen Farm Baron Bigod 

Colston Bassett Stilton 

Why did you enter the competition?

As the current holder of ‘Affineur of the Year, I thought it would be best if I came back!

In year one, I wanted to do something that we are known for… maturing a cheese the way it should be matured: no gimmicks, just all care. I think we achieved that with Priscilla. However this year, many people believe the pressure is on, but actually quite the reserve. I now feel like I can get a little more experimental with my approach and try some new things I’ve always wanted to try in a real-life setting. Affineur of Year isn’t a competition to me, but an opportunity to put ideas to the test!  

What is your relationship with affinage to date?

Cheese maturing is a part of me. Since my time in France, the subject has always fascinated me, utilising tools such as humidity, temperature, and time to help realise a cheese maker’s vision. Refining profiles so they are absolutely spot on for customers. Learning what a chef likes and then hitting it back on the head.  

How are you approaching the maturation and why have you chosen this approach?

There are many things I want to try with these cheeses. Some old Italian techniques are of interest, but one of the most significant ideas is to aggressively introduce a good mould at an earlier stage by utilising a new approach. All I’ll say is it’s called the ‘Perry mould Clamp’. Obviously, on top of these experimental practices, I’ll be doing our usual, giving the cheese everything it needs.  

What are your expectations for the matured cheeses?

Quickes: chewy texture, but smooth once melting on the palate—strong flavours towards the rind, earthy and grassy. Rip through the breakdown of fats stage to create some extensive savoury notes, hopefully, retain a bit of tang.  

The others, you’ll have to wait and see! 

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