Media release 29 November 2007
New Master Judge for Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards
Australian Master Cheesemaker and Cheese Grader Neil Willman has been appointed Master Judge for the 2008 Cuisine NZ
Champions of Cheese Awards.
Willman is Australia’s only fulltime cheese educator and trainer and has, for 26 years, been responsible for all the
cheese education and training programmes at Gilbert Chandler College, Australia’s only dedicated dairy college.
He has been an international judge at the World Championship Cheese Contest and the British Cheese Awards, as well as at
previous Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.
As well, Willman has been chief judge at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards, the Royal Sydney Easter Show, CheeseFest in
Adelaide, and the Dairy Industry Association of Australia National Dairy Product Competition.
Neil replaces John Greeley, from the United States, who was the founding Master Judge of the awards.
“John came on board with the Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards right at the very beginning to ensure we created good
systems and judging protocols that had professional integrity and would command industry respect,” said awards organiser
Vikki Lee Goode.
“We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for creating a professional and credible judging platform, which Neil and the
other judges will now be able to build on as the awards continue to grow and develop.”
Willman said that, having judged more than 70 cheese competitions, he saw his role as Master Judge as being one of
striving to continuously improve awards and enhance their international reputation.
“Judges who have good knowledge of particular styles of cheese may sometimes be asked to judge styles that they may be
less familiar with,” Willman said.
“I aim to empower judges by offering them workshops to build on their existing knowledge and expand their understanding
of new and exciting cheese styles,” he said.
“I want the judging process to be open and accountable, and will encourage the cheesemakers themselves to act as
stewards during the judging.”
Goode said the award organisers were delighted to have a Master Judge of Willman’s experience and international
The 2008 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards will take place in Auckland from March 2-8 next year, with a Gala Dinner
on March 4. Entries for the awards close on January 25, 2008.