Finalists announced for Young Cheesemonger of the Year

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The Academy of Cheese has announced the eight finalists for the Young Cheesemonger of the Year 2019 competition.

The finalists are:

  • Sam Day – from Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Leicester.
  • Izaak Edge – from The Cheeseworks, Cheltenham.
  • Alexandra Griffin – from La Cave a Fromage, Hove.
  • Alexander Kiely – from The Fine Cheese Company, Bath.
  • Daniel Ozeri – from Neal’s Yard Dairy, London.
  • Michael Paradise – from La Fromagerie, London.
  • Mica-Jade Rowswell – from Macknade Fine Foods, Faversham.
  • Alan Watson – from Paxton & Whitfield, London.

The competition takes place on 30 May 2019 at the Royal Bath & West Show, Somerset and the finalists will take part in four rounds:

  1. Round one – Cheeseboard Proposal & Discussion where they will discuss their cheeseboard selection.
  2. Round two – a Cut & Wrap exercise where they will have to cut and wrap different weights of cheese from whole cheeses by sight with no use of weighing scales.
  3. Round three – Identification, where contestants will have to taste and identify a number of unmarked cheeses.
  4. Round four – where each contestant will take part in a Mastermind-style quiz and give responses to questions asked about British cheese.

The 2019 winner will be announced later the same day.

Becoming an expert cheesemonger is more than just learning about how to cut cheese. It’s about knowing all the cheese varieties, how to care for them and understanding how they are made. The competition is open to cheesemongers under the age of 30 and is sponsored by Fine Food Digest magazine and the Academy of Cheese, which provides training and knowledge for the cheese industry.

Tracey Colley, Academy of Cheese, said: “The Academy has been overwhelmed to see such a high calibre of entries from all over the UK. In particular, the judges were impressed by the creative cheeseboard combinations and in-depth knowledge of British cheeses demonstrated by so many of the applicants. Some of our Young Cheesemonger finalists had considered specific themes, pricing, weight and seasonality; with many including the young guns of British cheesemaking within their selection. It’s a clear indication that the cheese scene in the UK is in safe hands with this next generation of passionate retailers.”

Julius Longman, chairman of the British Cheese Awards, said: “We were really impressed with the quality and also the number of entries that we received this year. It was encouraging to see entries from young cheesemongers throughout the country, giving a positive picture of how this is such a great career for young foodies who love cheese. I’m looking forward to seeing how the eight finalists perform on the day. The nature of the four rounds means that it’s never certain who will win until right up to the end, making it an adrenaline-charged competition to take part in as well as watch.”

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