About The Guild

The Guild of Cheese Graders has been created by Bruce Macdonald, a cheese grader with 30 years experience. He is the current Chairman of the International Cheese Awards and also a Compagnon d'Honneur, at the prestigious La Guilde Internationale des Fromagers et La Confrérie de Saint-Uguzon.

Bruce recalls “I had been considering creating a body which has the single purpose of providing training to an industry which increasingly seeks proof of training and ability. I subsequently had many discussions with colleagues in grading, technical, cheese-making, retail, food science and sensory analysis. After listening carefully to their thoughts and insights and combining them with my own, I decided to take action.

The British Cheese Board
International Cheese Awards 2015
La Guilde Internationale des Fromagers

The result is The Guild of Cheese Graders and its high standard of membership criteria.

Cheese grading is a skilled activity which can have a major financial impact on a business. It is essential to ensure that graders have the correct skills and proven ability to correctly perform this demanding role. Whether for a grader for a major cheese manufacturer or brand, or a Quality Control checker for a multi-product sandwich manufacturer, the fundamental skills and knowledge required about cheese quality are the same.

The Guild of Cheese Graders seminars are designed to give the attendees a high level experience and quality of knowledge that is unavailable elsewhere.

Cheese iron

Bruce added “I hope that the industry recognizes the value of the professional training The Guild of Cheese Graders will provide and support this new initiative


To provide the individual with training to prove the essential basic abilities of taste, smell and cheese assessment.

To promote the use of the ‘common-language’ of cheese grading.

To provide proof of training.


Certificated proof of achieving a pre-determined level of knowledge and ability.

Renewable certification of membership to demonstrate continued ability.

Members names will be listed on The Guild website, ensuring industry recognition of professional accreditation.

UK cheese competitions will annually receive a list of the members contact details to be added to their list of judges.

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Membership is open to all, regardless of their experience - whether from cheese manufacturing, technical, cheese-trading retailing, restaurants, hotels, or any associated industries including sandwich and prepared foods manufacturing, UK or non-UK based.Initial membership requires delegates to attend a two-day seminar and will be valid for a period of two years.

Initial Membership Seminar:
Content includes:

A Sensory Screening session with indicative levels for taste recognition as recommended by BS 5929 Part 7:1992: Understanding the palate and the ability to correctly discern flavours are the foundations of cheese grading and are integral parts of membership of The Guild of Cheese Graders.

Over 15 years experience of managing sensory sessions has shown that the vast majority of delegates will achieve a very high standard. Due to the purity of the flavours used, this process also help the delegates to increase their understanding of their palate which, of course, is unique to them. This is highly beneficial for anyone who tastes and comments about cheese.

A review and discussion of ‘the language of cheese grading’:
This covers the descriptors for visual, physical, aroma and taste attributes and defects, and how these words are correctly implemented.

What does the cheese iron tell the grader?: This is an interactive practical grading session

Cheese functionality: What makes a cheese suitable for slicing, shredding, crumbling or cooking?

The seminar will also include three comprehensive grading sessions focusing on:
Cheddar, UK Territorials, Fresh, Soft, Semi-soft, Continental and Blue cheeses, and a session about judging at cheese competitions.

Number of cheeses tasted is 45 to 50. Serious, in-depth tasting. No-one else provides this! A first class lunch is included in the price of the course on each day.

Membership Renewal Seminar:
The Sensory Screening session is to be repeated biennially at a one-day seminar which will also include sample cheese grading and contributions from members.

The next dates for the Initial Membership Seminar are:

Cheese iron

Wednesday 21st & Thursday 22nd September 2016

Will be advised on enquiry, but usually held in Shropshire.

Costs and further information:
Please use the contact form below.

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The Guild of Cheese Graders®
Office: +44 (0) 1691 770364 Mobile: +44 (0) 7908 641011