About The Guild

Launched in March 2015, the Guild of Cheese Graders was created by Bruce Macdonald, a cheese grader with over 30 years’ experience. He is a former Chairman of the International Cheese Awards.

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, sensory analysis and H.R. After listening carefully to their thoughts and insights and combining them with my own, I decided to take action."

Membership is open to people from all parts of the cheesemaking and associated industries regardless of their experience. The seminars are usually held in Oswestry in Shropshire, but have also been held in the Isle of Man, two in Somerset and one in London.

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.


The British Cheese Board
International Cheese Awards 2015

Whether for a grader for a major cheese manufacturer or brand, or a Quality Control checker for a multi-product sandwich manufacturer or a self-employed cheesemaker the fundamental skills and knowledge required about cheese quality are the same. The more people from different industry backgrounds and experience we enrol in the Guild, the better the understanding of cheese qualities will be spread across the industry.

We use a specialist taste kit with "Indicative levels for taste recognition as recommended by BS 5929 Part 7:1992. ISO 3972: 1991". This has sweet, sour, salty, bitter and Umami flavours. This session is held twice and helps the delegates to better understand their own taste acuity and is a cornerstone of the Guild's seminar content.

Being fully aware of their taste acuity gives graders, tasters, cheese educators and commentators a far greater degree of authority, confidence and competence when discussing cheese flavours, therefore the use of this BS/ISO kit should be implemented across the industry as "Best Practice".

Continuing Professional Development: the Guild of Cheese Graders seminars are designed to give the members a high level experience and quality of knowledge, and to be an on-going and integral part of their CPD programme.

B.R.C: Guild membership is also relevant to British Retail Consortium. The member's written results for the taste kit the Guild uses at every seminar can be used as proof of training and therefore assist in complying with version 7, section 5.6, sub-sections 5.6.1, and

Cheese iron

The industry is now recognising the value of membership of the Guild of Cheese Graders and supporting this initiative. The Guild currently has seventy members with many of them and their employers kindly giving permission for their logos to be displayed on this website. Their trust and support are greatly appreciated.


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.

To be an integral part of your Continuing Professional Development programme.


Certificated proof of membership.

Renewable certification of membership.

Members' names will be listed on The Guild website, ensuring industry recognition.

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

Membership news and information.

Access to a growing industry network.

Latest News

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My granddaughter has made an upgraded version of the SAGE modelling programme. Probably as good as theirs! What do you think @theJeremyVine pic.twitter.com/Kkhx32SOPq

About a month ago from Bruce Macdonald's Twitter

The Guild Membership List

See the latest list of accredited members


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Global Food & Dairy Awards - Accrediting Excellence
Accreditation: In July 2017 the Guild was awarded its accreditation by the Global Food & Dairy Awards. The GF&DA is itself accredited by the Society of Dairy Technology. The STD logo now features on the certificate Guild members receive from the GF&DA. These relationships serve to support and validate the Guild’s methods and credentials, and are additional positive steps in consolidating the Guild's position in the industry.


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.

Guild Membership is on two levels – Standard and Gold.

For Standard Membership delegates are required to attend a one-day seminar and is valid for two years. It is then continued by attending a one-day Membership Renewal Seminar.

Gold membership is achieved by attending an additional one-day seminar. This opportunity is open only to those with Standard Membership. 

All Membership and Membership Renewal Seminars include two Sensory screening sessions. The kit used has indicative levels for taste recognition as recommended by BS 5929 Part 7:1992: ISO 3972: 1991, and uses sweet, sour, bitter, salty and Umami flavours. Understanding the palate and the ability to correctly discern flavours are the foundations of cheese grading and these sessions should be adopted across the industry as "Best Practise".

Over 16 years' experience of managing sensory sessions has shown that this is a vital stepping stone to the improvement of grading skills. Due to the purity of the flavours used, this process also helps the delegates to increase their understanding of their palate which, of course, is unique to them. This is highly beneficial to everyone who tastes and comments about cheese.

In addition to the sensory screening sessions, the Standard Membership Seminar will give you the opportunity to study "The Three Phases of Tasting" and the Guild’s bespoke "Language of Cheese Grading", and enjoy tutored tasting sessions.

The Gold Membership Seminar is a full day focussing solely on cheese quality.

All seminars provide "proof of training".

The next Membership Seminar is scheduled for 23rd October 2018 with the Gold Membership Seminar on 24th October 2018.

Corporate Membership are available.

For full seminar details and costs please use the contact form below.

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Get in touch

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