In an exclusive interview, Romain Le Gal (MOF 2023) working at France Frais recounts his journey and shares his vision on market trends.
Portrait of Romain le Gal.
The Best Craftsman of France traces the path that led him from his beginnings in agriculture to achieving this title of excellence, through the recent evolutions of the cheese industry, unveiling trends like the enthusiasm for truffle and bear's garlic, and the increasing success of melting cheeses. How was your passion for cheese born, and how has it developed over the years? I went to an agricultural school, worked in frozen foods, then in traditional seafood. A professional opportunity presented itself, and I began to take an interest in cheese. When I joined a company within the France Frais group, I was in charge of the commercial part for Cheesemongers. I then took over purchasing before enrolling in the Best Craftsman of France competition.
Your journey to achieving the title of Best Craftsman of France is very inspiring. What were the key steps and challenges you had to overcome to reach this level of excellence? It’s a competition of excellence. The unique aspect of the competition is that the competition is mainly with oneself. In the final, we were eight, and we could all have been laureates. When you enroll in this type of competition, it allows you to reset and start from the base because we've learned things that aren’t necessarily true. We need to relearn some things; to practice differently; it allows us to go further and then try to be better in areas where we weren’t necessarily going, allowing us to step out of our comfort zone.

As an expert, how do you see the evolution of trends in the cheese industry over the last few years? Are there any novelties or practices that you find particularly interesting? We’ve seen things gain importance for more than eight years. Initially, it was truffle. For the past two years, it’s been bear's garlic. Currently and for several years, all that is melting cheese explodes, especially with the raclette trend. The moment of consumption has also moved, reducing the traditional end-of-meal cheese plate in favor of the appetizer. In terms of consumption acts, cheese as an appetizer, even in a global consumption act or in cocktail dinners, is really a big trend.

What is the importance of innovation in the cheese field, and how does France Frais contribute to this dynamic? The France Frais group belongs to an agricultural cooperative. Today, we work for and with farmers, producers… Our job is to support our clients and to be the messenger for our producers but also to find solutions for them and also for our clients to be the best partner in their daily life.

In your opinion, what is the importance of the Cheese and Dairy Products Show for professionals in the sector? How does it contribute to shaping the future of the cheese industry in France and internationally? Shows are meeting and exchange points where all cheese enthusiasts and artisan cheesemakers can meet. Moreover, the international aspect that the show offers its exhibitors and visitors allows them to have an opening on the world through cheese.

Romain Le Gal, Best Craftsman of France Romain Le Gal was awarded the title of Best Craftsman of France (MOF) in 2023. His journey, marked by passion and determination, is a source of inspiration.

The MOF competition, known for its high level of demand, represents a personal as well as professional challenge. For Romain Le Gal, the final was an opportunity to reinvent himself and relearn the fundamentals of his trade. This stage was crucial for debunking certain misconceptions and deepening his knowledge.

Although daily cheese cutting was not his usual practice, his constant interaction with producers was decisive in his journey. This closeness allowed him to deeply understand every aspect of cheese production, thus enriching his expertise.

Romain Le Gal's success in the MOF highlights the importance of passion, commitment, and the willingness to learn to achieve excellence.