Finalists selected for Young Cheesemonger of the Year 2019
The British Cheese Awards has unveiled the eight finalists for the Young Cheesemonger of the Year 2019 competition, sponsored by Fine Food Digest and the Academy of Cheese.
Staged on 30th May at the Royal Bath & West Show, the final will put the cheesemongers through their paces and see one of them crowned by the end of the day.
The finalists for the competition, all of whom are under the age of 30, are:
- Sam Day – Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Leicester.
- Izaak Edge – The Cheeseworks, Cheltenham.
- Alexandra Griffin – La Cave à Fromage, Hove.
- Alexander Kiely – The Fine Cheese Co, Bath.
- Daniel Ozeri – Neal’s Yard Dairy, London.
- Michael Paradise – La Fromagerie, London.
- Mica-Jade Rowswell – Macknade Fine Foods, Faversham.
- Alan Watson – Paxton & Whitfield, London.
During the final, which is held the day after main judging of the British Cheese Awards, the eight cheesemongers will take part in four rounds.
- Round 1 – Cheeseboard Proposal & Discussion
Each finalist will discuss the cheeseboard selection from their application form.
- Round 2 – Cut & Wrap
Contestants will have to cut and wrap different weights of cheese from whole cheeses by sight with no use of weighing scales.
- Round 3 – Identification
Finalists will have to taste and identify a number of unmarked cheeses.
- Round 4 – Quiz
A Mastermind-style series of questions asked about British cheese.
Each of the eight cheesemongers was selected from a field of entrants who had to submit an entry form for the competition.
A key aspect of the form was the challenge of pitching a British cheeseboard for six people, with a budget of £30.
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. 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: “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.”
Michael Lane, editor of Fine Food Digest, said: “This is an impressive shortlist of contestants. All of the country’s best-known cheese retail names will be represented, alongside some dark horses. Each cheesemonger has done a great job getting here, given the level of submissions, but now the competition really begins. Whoever wins the title, the amount of interest in Young Cheesemonger of the Year is extremely encouraging for the future of British cheese.”
Last year’s winner was Nicola Beardmore, a cheesemonger at the Brown & Green Deli in Trentham, Staffordshire, said: “Young Cheesemonger of the Year is such an important competition, we need more young people to have an interest and support in becoming a cheesemonger. I’ve gained valuable connections and friends within the British cheese world as a result of my win last year.”
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