Quicke, who still owns and runs her family’s historic cheese business in Devon, Quicke’s Cheese, had the idea to create a UK system that would correspond with the USA’s Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) qualification.
From Spring 2017 onwards, students will have chance to progress through the professional accreditation programme, offering a variety of courses along the same lines as the globally-recognised Wines & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) curriculum.
From the introductory Level 1, professional Level 2 and expert Level 3, the highest level, Level 4, will be available for students from 2018, and will ultimately grant the title of Master of Cheese. The courses will be open to cheesemakers, cheesemongers, chefs, distributors or anyone with an interest in cheese, and will allow them to fully understand the product and business.
The Academy will not actually train students, but act as an accreditation body, support partner training organisations, and create the examinations.
The courses are aiming to make the industry more attractive to prospective workers, and hoping to increase retention of excellent people in the business.
The creation of the academy has also been supported by John Farrand and Jilly Sitch from the Guild of Fine Food, Tracey Colley from cheese distributor Harvey & Brockless, Ros Windsor from artisanal makers Paxton & Whitfield, Charlie Turnbull of Turnbulls Cheesemongers and bistro, and Clare Downes of Monkhouse Food & Drink PR.
Financial patrons, who have helped to launch the academy, currently include suppliers Bradbury's, supermarket giant Tesco, producers and distributors Harvey & Brockless, the Cropwell Bishop Creamery, national dairy producers Wyke Farms, makers and suppliers Bridgehead Foods, makers Lincolnshire Poacher, Cornish producer Lynher Dairies, and Nottingham’s Stichelton Dairy.
John Farrand from the Guild of Fine Food, said: “The Academy of Cheese will bring a much-needed respect and direction to cheese professionals and to those who want to take their enjoyment of cheese to a different level. [This resource] will inspire, educate and contribute to higher quality cheese being sold and enjoyed.”
Tracey Colley, exhibition co-ordinator and retail account manager at Harvey & Brockless said a formal accreditation body in the UK was “long-awaited”, and added: “Our commitment to supporting artisan cheese makers…has also led to a need for educating chefs and cheesemongers.
“[This] will be an excellent opportunity to inspire and retain talented people who have a real passion for the wonderful world of cheese.”