Online Cheese School Member Certification - 5 Session Course April / May

If you’ve passed Level One, but want to know more about the wonderful world of cheese, then this is the course for you. Join Patrick McGuigan at the Online Cheese School, who will take you deeper beneath the rind in a series of fun, informative and delicious online classes, covering everything from dairy science and cow breeds to cooking with cheese and expert tasting.




What will I learn?
Patrick’s Academy of Cheese Level Two classes have been tailored specifically for online learning to be accessible to both UK and overseas delegates. Fun, interactive and packed with information, they draw on Patrick’s 15-year career in cheese, which has seen him visit and learn from the best cheesemakers, maturers and cheesemongers in the world.

The online cheese course is taught across five weekly webinars, hosted live by Patrick on Zoom using powerpoint, video and interactive tasks. Students are taught in small groups of a maximum of 12 in a virtual ‘classroom’ with participants able to ask questions and interact with each other and Patrick.

Tutored tastings are a key part of the course. We can deliver a tasting pack containing 20 cheeses to delegates in the UK. For delegates who prefer to source their own cheese and/or are based overseas, the course can be purchased without the cheese delivery option at a reduced rate. Patrick will send the list of cheeses that he will be tasting before the course so delegates have time to source themselves.

Who should take part?

Anybody who loves cheese and has passed the Level One accreditation. The course is popular with a huge range of people, including foodie members of the public, who want to increase their knowledge to share with friends and family, but also industry professionals: chefs, sommeliers, retailers, cheesemakers, wholesalers and food and drink writers.

Patrick has taught students from countries including India, Barbados, Nigeria, Singapore, Russia, Australia, France, Denmark, Germany and the US.

He is also happy to organise and run bespoke online courses for private groups, tailoring either Level 1 or Level 2 to your interests. Previous private classes run by Patrick have included a group of sommeliers in the Far East, an overseas family cheese business and a group of friends with a keen interest in wine in Manchester. Just drop him a line with your requirements and he will get right back to you.

What’s included?

  • Five, 2.5 hour webinars, taught by Patrick McGuigan 6pm-8.30pm (UK time), covering topics such as: milk production and animal breeds; the science of cheesemaking & maturation; cheese defects; cooking with cheese; drinks matching; cheese history; and expert tasting. Delegates will need to supplement the course with their own home learning.
  • 20 cheeses delivered to your home across two deliveries from an award-winning cheesemonger (only for UK delegates who sign up for the full-price course). In addition, delegates will need to buy five specified cheeses themselves for the first class. Please note, many of the cheeses are made with raw milk and animal rennet and can’t be changed.
  • The Academy of Cheese Delegates’ pack (pdf format for printing at home). This includes the Level 2: 75 Cheese Profiles Book (written by Patrick) and Cheese Tasting Sheets. Hard copies can be bought separately direct from the Academy.
  • 75 Cheese Profiles Book (written by Patrick) and Cheese Tasting Sheets
    12 month’s access to the Academy of Cheese Level Two Learning Road and Cheese Library

The Level Two Exam
Upon successful completion of the exam you will also receive a pin badge designating you as an Academy of Cheese Member and a professional certificate suitable for framing

About Patrick McGuigan 

Patrick McGuigan is one of Britain’s leading cheese writers and communicators. He writes about cheese for titles including The Telegraph, The Financial Times and Delicious, and has contributed to BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme. His first book, The Philosophy of Cheese, published by The British Library, was published in October 2020.

His 15-year career in cheese has has seen him visit and learn from cheesemakers, affineurs and cheesemongers everywhere from the Swiss Alps to the pastures of Vermont, and throughout the UK.

He is also a senior judge at the World Cheese Awards, a member of the Guilde des Fromagers and the co-founder of the British Cheese Weekender and London Cheese Project festivals. He holds the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines.

What delegates are saying

”You have been a fantastic teacher! It has been a pleasure to share your experience and passion and I have appreciated your good sense of humour throughout. Thanks once again Master Gouda (like my Master Yoda)!” Stephaine H.

”Patrick is a walking cheese encyclopedia and, most importantly, he can teach.” Richard J.

”Huge thanks to Patrick for being an awesome online tutor!” Megan H.


Please note, once the course is booked it is non-refundable. All bookings are final, however, if you are unable to attend you can reassign your booking to a new available date or to another person. We require 14 days’ notice prior to original booking date.

We reserve the right to cancel a course at short notice should events beyond our control make this unavoidable. Should this occur, delegates will be offered a place on our next available scheduled course or a full refund.

Patrick McGuigan

Patrick McGuigan

Includes instant access to the Member learning road and certification

  • L2 S01 Understands the role of the ingredients used in cheesemaking and the impact they can have on the finished cheese.
  • L2 S02 Understands the impact of milk composition and quality on the finished cheese (e.g. species, morning/evening milk, season, lactation stage)

  • L2 S03 Has knowledge of the key milking breeds – Cows (Bos taurus)

  • L2 S04 Has knowledge of the key milking breeds – Goats (Capra aegarus hircus) and Sheep (Ovis aries)

  • L2 S05 Has knowledge of the key milking breeds – Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)

  • L2 S06 Understands how cheese style, flavour, texture and safety are influenced by cheesemaking techniques and acidity development

  • L2 S07 Understands how rind washing is carried out and how it affects the flavour profile of cheese.
  • L2 S08 Understands how flavour-added cheeses can be made (e.g. smoked, re-milled & flavoured, herbs and spices added to curd
  • L2 S09 Understands the role of the ripening microflora and the effect of salt on the flavour and texture of cheese
  • L2 S10 Understands the typical temperatures and maturation times for Hard and Soft cheeses for further ripening
  • L2 S11 Understands how cheese safety is affected in Hard Make and Soft Make cheeses at different stages of their maturation and storage
  • L2 S12 Understands the importance of brushing and turning cheeses, where appropriate, to ensure that they remain in optimum condition
  • L2 S13 Is able to recognise the condition of a hard and blue cheese in terms of maturity
  • L2 S14 Is able to recognise some common defects of cheese arising from the milk and cheese-making processes (e.g. blowing/gas defects, mechanical openness, cracking, excessive moisture, mite damage)
  • L2 S15 Is able to use a cheese iron
  • L2 S16 Understands how to calculate cost of goods sold, gross profit, profit margin. Understands the difference between margin and mark up.
  • L2 S17 Understands the various ways that products are distributed (e.g. direct from producer, via wholesaler, via a consolidator)
  • L2 S18 Understands the cost structure of the supply chain and the impact of wastage on profitability
  • L2 S19 Understands the importance of offering an appropriate range of cheeses and can recommend appropriate ranges in specific circumstances (e.g. dinner party, restaurant service or a cheese counter)
  • L2 S20 Is able to select an appropriate range of accompaniments to match a cheese selection (e.g. dinner party, restaurant service or a cheese counter)
  • L2 S21 Understands how cheese may be safely stored and presented in different environments (e.g. thehome, retail and foodservice)
  • L2 S22 Is able to recognise common cheese quality defects arising when presenting and serving cheese in a retail and foodservice environment (e.g. drying of the cut face, mould growth, discolouring/light damage, sweating) and know how to manage them.
  • L2 S23 Understands the role of temperature and importance of effective pre-requisite controls on quality and safety when maturing cheese in the retail environment
  • L2 S24 Is able to cut, re-pack and present cheese to achieve best quality in a retail or food service environment
  • L2 S25 Understands the importance of implementing effective stock management systems for cheeses on display with regard to batch identification and expiry date Read this
  • L2 S26 Understands the use of different types of cheese in cooking variety
  • L2 S27 Understands how key descriptors can be communicated verbally or non-verbally to the customer in retail or food service environments
  • L2 S28 Understands that different customers may rank the importance of key descriptors differently
  • L2 S29 Understands the health benefits of cheese
  • L2 S30 Is able to advise people on the safe consumption of cheese to high risk groups (i.e. very old, very young, pregnant women, immunocompromised), individuals with allergies or coeliacs
  • L2 S31 Can suggest appropriate cheese pairings with food and drink
  • L2 S32 Has a detailed understanding of the history of cheese in the UK
  • L2 S33 Has an understanding of current market trends in UK and world cheese consumption – Key Events
  • L2 S33 Has an understanding of current market trends in UK and world cheese consumption – Top Cheese Consuming Countries in the World
  • L2 S34 Has an understanding of current market trends in UK and world cheese consumption – Trends
  • L2 S35 Understands the requirements relating to the approval of food businesses
  • L2 S36 Understands the seven principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points difference between “use by” and “best before”
  • L2 S36 Knows the main pathogens relevant to cheesemaking, maturation and storage and their most likely source
  • L2 S37 Understands the role of the food enforcement officer (e.g. Environmental Health Officer)
  • L2 S38 Understands the legal requirements relating to labelling and trading standards
  • L2 S39 Understands the terms withdrawal and recall and the circumstances in which these would be carried out
  • L2 S40 Understands how to use the Academy of Cheese Level 2 Tasting Model and can assess cheese using the Model – Tasting Cheese
  • L2 S40 Understands how to use the Academy of Cheese Level 2 Tasting Model and can assess cheese using the Model – How SATC Level 2 differs to Level 1
  • L2 S40 Understands how to use the Academy of Cheese Level 2 Tasting Model and can assess cheese using the Model – Pre-Taste Assessment
  • L2 S40 Understands how to use the Academy of Cheese Level 2 Tasting Model and can assess cheese using the Model – Mouthfeel
  • L2 S40 Understands how to use the Academy of Cheese Level 2 Tasting Model and can assess cheese using the Model – Taste Assessment
  • L2 S40 Understands how to use the Academy of Cheese Level 2 Tasting Model and can assess cheese using the Model – Assessment Conclusion
  • L2 S41 Recognises the specified 100 cheeses by name, MPM class, species of milking animal, protected status, heat treatment, rennet type and country/region of origin
  • L2 S42 Knows the background information, cheese make, maturation process and key characteristics for the cheeses specified on the Level 2 list

Whichever way you chose to study, you’ll need to take the online exam to become a certified Academy of Cheese Member. It’s 40 questions in 40 minutes, you’ve got this!  


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