Announcing one of the most exciting developments in cheese education

 

AoC logo

 

What is the Academy of Cheese?

The Academy of Cheese is a new not-for-profit industry funded organisation. It 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.

Background

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.

At its core the Academy is building a training and examination programme as follows:
1. Level 1 (Introductory)
2. Level 2 (Professional)
3. Level 3 (Expert)
4. Master of Cheese

The Academy programme will be accredited and the students will be examined and certificated to a national standard; in knowledge, experience and tasting skills. 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 2016 we are looking to raise development capital

This is for:
• developing and accrediting Academy Levels 1 and 2
• building examination structures for those levels
• developing a systematic approach to tasting cheese
• creating or building links to the full curriculum of study material
• building the proprietary website for the Academy
• fast tracking experienced cheese professionals through Academy Levels 1 & 2

For the incubation period, the Academy will be nested inside the Guild of Fine Food, who are offering to administer the Academy in the first instance. The Academy will become a separate, not-for-profit body during 2016. All of the steering group, with exception of Jilly Sitch whose time is being donated by the Guild, are giving their time for free.

In 2017 the Academy will begin the transition from programme development to delivery

Delivery: in delivering Academy Levels 1 and 2 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.

Development: in 2017 the Academy will develop Level 3.

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.


 

If you’re in cheese, there are obvious benefits to becoming involved…

For further information about becoming a Patron of the Academy of Cheese, or any other questions, contact any of our steering group:

John Farrand | Guild of Fine Food 01747 825 200 john.farrand@gff.co.uk
Jilly Sitch | Guild of Fine Food 01747 825 200 jilly.sitch@gff.co.uk
Tracey Colley | Harvey & Brockless 020 7819 6001 tracey.colley@harveyandbrockless.co.uk
Ros Windsor | Paxton & Whitfield 01225 331 654 ros@paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
Mary Quicke | Quicke’s 01392 851 222 mary@quickes.co.uk
Clare Downes | Monkhouse Food & Drink 01939 290 399 clare@monkhousefoodanddrink.co.uk
Charlie Turnbull | Turnbulls 07540 108 198 charlie@turnbulls.co.uk

Joining this initiative at the early stages will establish you and your brand as one of the founder benefactors of the Academy, for which there will be considerable return benefits. Through your support we will recognise and develop Masters of Cheese; demonstrating knowledge, professionalism and pride in cheese.

We look forward to hearing from you!