Prestigious category sponsorship boosts Great British Cheese Awards for 2018

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The Great British Cheese Awards – now in its third year – looks set to be bigger and better this year. As well as extending the judging panel with additional industry experts, the prestigious awards have been further boosted with first-time sponsorship from The Academy of Cheese and Slow Food in the UK.

The Great British Cheese Awards bring together the online voting and nominating public with a cross-section of high quality judges that include award-winning chefs, journalists, food writers, celebrity food bloggers, cheese buyers and dairy technologists. Re-joining the judging panel in 2018 is Jane Devonshire who triumphed in MasterChef 2016. Since winning the competition, she has worked with many amazing chefs including Marcus Wareing, Atul Kochhar, Jason Atherton, Michel Roux and Michael O’Hare at their restaurants.  Jane said  “Cheese tasting is one of my favourite things to do and I’m really looking forward to this.”  Also re-joining the judging panel is the well known actor Adam Woodyatt – who is a cheese-loving avid foodie with a food blog. He recently founded a new artisan gin company with his wife which is doing the rounds at major food festivals such as Pub in the Park.

As well as new judges, it is the first time that The Great British Cheese Awards have had dedicated category sponsors. Slow Food in the UK are sponsoring the award category Best Artisan Cheese Producer. The winner of this category will receive a phenomenal prize that includes return flights to Turin, two night’s accommodation and passes to ‘Cheese’ a biannual Slow Food Festival held in Bra, Italy that celebrates traditional cheese and cheese-making. Shane Holland, executive chair of Slow Food in the UK said “Slow Food in the UK is part of the global, grassroots organisation. With over a million supporters in 150 countries, we campaign for a better food system for all. With that in mind, The Great British Cheese Awards offers us a fantastic platform to engage with members of the public, food producers and chefs. We are really pleased to have the opportunity to sponsor the Best Artisan Cheese Producer category which is a perfect fit. We are confident that the winner will have a thoroughly enjoyable time at the Bra Cheese Festival and hope this will help to further extend their passion and knowledge for artisan cheese.”

The other category award sponsor, The Academy of Cheese, was set-up to promote cheese knowledge and provide career development, both within the industry and amongst the wider public. As sponsor of the Best Speciality Cheese Retailer, the winner will receive an Academy of Cheese Level One Associate course. Speaking about the awards, Tracey Colley, Founding Director of The Academy of Cheese said: “We’re delighted to support The 2018 Great British Cheese Awards. There is a strong synergy between our organisations’ objectives and audiences. The Academy of Cheese recognises the importance of promoting cheese knowledge and these awards are a perfect platform to a highly engaged community. Together, we can celebrate the diversity and exceptional quality of the UK’s extraordinary cheesemakers and our specialist retailers.”

The Great British Cheese awards are organised by Great British Chefs (The UK’s fastest growing food website) and Peter’s Yard, whose sourdough crispbread has been named as “the best biscuit for cheese out there.” The awards were established three years ago to celebrate the best of British artisan cheeses produced and distributed by independent cheese makers and retailers. “We were careful to ensure that the category sponsors were the perfect match for the awards and were obviously really pleased that we were able to attract high calibre organisations like Slow Food in the UK and The Academy of Cheese.”

Online entries and nominations for the 2018 Awards are open and producers and retailers have until 19th June to complete their free online entry. The public can also nominate their favourite cheeses, producers and retailers until 19 June. Those cheeses and retailers receiving the most nominations and entries are put on a long list.  This is then created into a voting list and voting is open for the general public who have from 28 June  until 14 August to cast their votes.   Those cheeses, producers and retailers with the most votes in each category are shortlisted for an award. It is then that the panel of specialist judges come together to taste the cheeses and judge the overall category winners.

The overall category winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at Somerset House, London on 17 October.