December 07, 2017

Meet Malcolm (Monty) Montgomerie

An interview with the Big Cheese.

Malcolm (Monty) Montgomerie is one of the many top-notch Kiwis who contribute to the goodness of our dairy that’s loved around the world. If you’re thinking his name sounds familiar, you’d be right!

He was mentioned in Fonterra’s latest TV ad which celebrates the many people in the south who help make delicious cheese for the region’s world famous cheese rolls.


Today Monty has been in the dairy industry for more than 36 years and has overseen the cheese production at Fonterra Stirling for the last 22 years.

The well-known cheese-connoisseur said a fondness for cheddar was something his father passed on to him.

“My dad was a cheese-maker, so when I left school and was looking for a job I ended up working for him in Palmerston North. I was there for around 10 years before moving south and eventually taking up a post at Fonterra Stirling where I work today.”

He says he’s trained a few over the years. “It takes a long time to train people up and learn the ins and outs. But there’s always something new to learn every day.”

When asked what kept him in his job for so long, Monty says he enjoys just about every aspect of it.

“It’s just a bloody great job. If I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t have been there for 36 years. There’s good job satisfaction and you get to see great results. The camaraderie from shift to shift isn’t too bad either. I just love the lifestyle.”

We sat Monty down for a quick fire Q&A about cheese.

His responses proved he’s a cheese-loving, hard-working, big-hearted Southlander through and through.

You’re at a party and there’s a cheese platter on the board, which one do you go for first?

“Blue vein.”

Would you rather cheese on a pizza or on a toastie?

“Toastie. Definitely.”

Would you rather wait for cheese to mature or cut in early?

“I’m a patient person, you’ve got to wait for the flavour.”

What cheese do you know how to make?

“We mainly do Cheddar and Colby.”

How many varieties actually are there?

“Soft cheese, goat cheese… there are hundreds of different cheeses.”

Cheese and ham or cheese and chutney?

“Cheese and ham.”

What cheese makes the best cheese roll?

“Tasty cheese, you’ve got to have that flavour.”

What were the best tasting and most memorable cheese rolls you’ve ever had?

“The ones my mum used to make back home.”

Despite the home-made rolls though, if you could choose, would you rather a holiday in the Catlins or the Gold Coast?

“Catlins.”