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A (busy) day in the life of a GCA steward!

A (busy) day in the life of a GCA steward!

Posted by Bethan Watkins        16/02/2015

As a recent entrant to the cheese industry, I was thrilled to be asked to be a steward for the Global Cheese Awards in September. Admittedly, I was a little nervous and apprehensive in the run up to the show as I wasn’t sure what to expect or what the day would entail. However, upon arrival my nerves were quickly put to rest with a very warm welcome from fellow stewards and judges and a good cup of coffee!

Following a briefing, I was teamed up with my three judges who were friendly, helpful and supportive throughout the whole day. With so much knowledge and experience between them it was a fantastic opportunity to learn a lot about the technical aspects and desired attributes of a variety of different cheeses from all over the world. 

Sampling the 52 or so varieties of cheese in my judging classes was also fascinating, each one so different in body, texture and taste it was great to be able to really understand what the judges were referring to and looking for. I found it comforting that not every cheese was to the judges’ tastes as I personally struggled with a particularly pungent sheep’s soft cheese on one occasion, as did one of the judges! 

The day continued with more sampling, discussions and note taking with the build-up and anticipation towards the championship becoming greater and greater.

By the last class I must admit the cheese headache was starting to kick in but we were soon heading towards a tasty lunch (which of course included a fantastic cheeseboard) and the announcement of the winners. It was great to finally find out which cheeses we had been deliberating over all morning had won and to acknowledge the skill and hard work that goes into making such fantastic cheeses. 

The day was thoroughly enjoyable and a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with so many industry experts from all over the world. It was an honour to be involved with such a well organised and prestigious awards scheme which I hope to be a part of once again. It was a truly invaluable experience that I would recommend to anyone, it just might be worth skipping breakfast!

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