Judging and Judge Training

Judging requires a knowledge of cheese styles, a background in their make processes, an understanding of how to distinguish ‘character traits’ from ‘defects’, and a strong foundation in sensory analysis.

In 2019, in collaboration with Mons Formation, Sue developed a formal, one-day judge training program, which was piloted for the World Cheese Awards judge team leaders. This course was intended to be customizable for each competition, adjusting for judging categories, feedback forms, and comportment expectations. The concept was adapted by the World Cheese Awards and continues to this day.

February 23-27, 2024

As an outgrowth of the World Cheese Awards training, Makers & Mongers is offering an english-language program for cheese professionals who want to discover the Parisian cheese world, and develop their skills as a cheese judge.


The program includes:


  • The cheese pavillion at Rungis, the largest european food market
  • Urban creameries in Paris
  • Top-flight cheese retailers in Paris

Sensory analysis & JudgingTrainining

  • In-depth sensory analysis training
  • Developing a concise, universal vocabulary to describe cheese
  • Review of categories and category definitions
  • Review of make processes for the principal categories and the target organoleptics for selected cheeses that have Standards of Identity (eg, PDO) within those categories.
  • Judge comportment do’s and don’ts
  • Expectations for judge feedback and review of judge forms
  • Frequently observed defects and their sources


  • As Judge at the Concours Générale Agricole, cheese and dairy products competition (France’s annual national cheese and dairy competition)
  • As VIP guest at the Salon du Fromage (open only to cheese professionals, held once ever two years)
  • OPTION: Guilde International des Fromagers gala induction ceremony Monday February 26 (cost TBA)

Minimum 4 enrollments to ensure the course.
Six participants maximum.
Application deadline: December 15, 2023.

“Extremely clear and wonderfully delivered. Interesting, accessible and highly informative. I think it would be amazing if more judges attended the course, to get the judges well aligned.”

Sue has judged at the following competitions over the years:

  • World Cheese Awards (also Judge trainer)
  • American Cheese Society
  • Meilleur Ouvrier de France (English language discourse)
  • Farm Cheese Awards
  • GourmetQuesos
  • Mondial du Fromage
  • Salon du Fromage Coups de Coeur
  • Concours Générale Agricole produits laitiers
  • ProCheese Awards
  • Italian Cheese Awards
A video of the first edition of the Farm Cheese Awards, 2018. A glimpse inside a cheese competition.