Like a sommelier who’s a wine expert, or a cicerone who knows all about beer, there’s a certification for cheese professionals – and Michael Cox from Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is part of an elite group of 121 who recently passed the inaugural American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional exam.
Cheese pros from the U.S. and Canada sat for the first exam, created by the American Cheese Society to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals. More than 100 experts spent eight years crafting the rigorous exam based on knowledge and skills needed to be a true expert.
Far beyond cheese tastings, Cox has to learn about raw ingredients, cheese making, nutrition, how to handle and store cheese, how to select a distributor, how to market and communicate about cheese, and regulations and sanitation.
Cox will receive an official pin, embroidered patch, certificate and the right to be called a Certified Cheese Professional. And he can’t rest on his laurels – he’ll be required to recertify every three years.