In 2013 Mary Quicke approached the Guild of Fine Food to look at developing a professional cheese qualification in the UK, inspired by the Certified Cheese Professional qualification run by the American Cheese Society. The industry representative group set up to examine this opportunity are the team behind the Academy of Cheese.

Image courtesy of Harvey & Brockless


The Academy of Cheese is a new not-for-profit industry funded organisation. The Academy has been set-up to promote cheese knowledge and provide career development, both within the industry and amongst the wider public. It culminates in the highly qualified and industry accredited role of Master of Cheese. The programme will build knowledge and skills in the full cheese cycle; from cheesemaking through affinage to selling to consumers - in both retail and food service environments. At its core the Academy is building a training and examination programme as follows:

Level 1


Level 2


Level 3


Level 4

Master of Cheese

The Academy sets the standards and learning outcomes for a four-level programme of  learning. It offers certification to candidates who satisfy the standards for each level when assessed against them. To enable the study programme, the Academy is engaging with training partners and interested industry players. This will be supported by a knowledge base, housed in a proprietary online site.

The Academy will follow a similar path to the globally recognised Wines & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET), in both programme structure and governance. It will be led by trustees representing the whole industry, independent of any one company or organisation. The purpose of the Academy is to support cheese knowledge and career progression in our industry, and increase the love, appreciation and understanding of good cheese across the whole population. The training programme and examination will be open to professional and interested non-professional cheese-lovers alike.


In 2017 the Academy will begin the transition from programme development to delivery:
We anticipate Level 1 opening courses will run in December 2017.


Delivery: in delivering Academy Level 1 we will begin to raise revenue from:

  • Examination fees from students
  • Subscriptions for access to the Academy knowledge base online
  • Accreditation income from training organisations

The Academy will not directly train students. Training will be provided by accredited partner organisations whose students then take the Academy’s examination.


In 2017 the Academy will develop Level 2. This level moves beyond the formal training currently available and will require more Academy generated content. During 2017 the Academy’s online knowledge base will also grow and evolve, to become an important tool for enabling study and a valuable resource for cheese professionals. The long term model for the Academy is to be funded jointly by delivery income and by industry contribution. In 2017 the Academy will be looking to the industry for further development capital, but this will fall back in future years as the Academy becomes more self-sufficient.

Joining this initiative will establish you and your brand as one of the founder benefactors of the Academy. Through your support we will recognise and develop Masters of Cheese; demonstrating knowledge, professionalism and pride in cheese.



John Farrand

Guild of Fine Food

Tracey Colley

Harvey & Brockless

Ros Windsor

Paxton & Whitfield

Mary Quicke


Clare Downes

Monkhouse Food & Drink

Charlie Turnbull


Jilly Sitch

Guild of Fine Food



Please complete the form opposite if you would like further information about the Academy of Cheese, or have any other questions. Please let us know whether you would like further information on Becoming a Potential Patron/Becoming a Training Provider/Receiving updates on when courses will be run/Press updates.
We look forward to hearing from you and discussing the Academy of Cheese in more detail. We hope that you would like to become involved!

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