This year marked the second time the finals of the Academy of Cheese’s Young Cheesemonger of the Year took place on the same day as the World Cheese Awards.
The winner was Lily Morris from Morris’s of Usk Garden Centre and Nurseries. She was one of six finalists invited to take part and undertake four rounds – a presentation of a cheeseboard selection, a demonstration of ‘cut & wrap’ skills, a cheese identification round using the Strategic Approach to Tasting Cheese, and a quiz.
The judging panel was made up of Keith Kendrick of BBC Good Food & Olive magazine; Hero Hirsh, head of retail at Paxton & Whitfield, Galina Danard, cheese educator and member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers and Andy Swinscoe, owner of The Courtyard Dairy.
As part of winning the competition, Morris was invited to the Judges Dinner on the Friday evening, earned a spot to judge at the WCA in 2024, and the opportunity to take on an Academy of Cheese course – level 3, in her case, as she has already completed her level 2. Morris, who has been selling cheese at her family’s shop for six years, said she was “honoured” to have won the award, adding: “It was the best day, surrounded by thousands of tasty cheeses and lots of lovely people.
“The award has inspired me to continue my cheese career, selling and educating others about artisan cheese, and most importantly, it has reminded me to keep spreading the message that it doesn’t matter who you are, if you have a passion for something, go and do it. “You never know what doors it will open for you, and that’s so exciting.”