Blessed are the Cheesemakers; Well, Certified at Least

The American Cheese Society, a trade group, recently jumped on the certification bandwagon. They’re giving cheesemakers the chance to get certified. The organization is offering a professional exam this year for about 150 artisan and specialty cheesemakers .

Of course, Europe is the leader in the perfecting of the cheese-making process and the evaluation of it. But no one’s exactly sure—as far as we know–who invented certification as a practice or where in the world it first emerged.

What we do know that certification in a given profession can make a significant difference. Who wants an accountant when you can have a Certified Public Accountant or Chartered Accountant?

Think of certification as an objective, reliable blessing from above. Take the following Sermon on the Mount scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian:

Spectator #1: “What’s ‘e saying?”

Spectator #2: “Shhh!”

Spectator #1: “I can’t hear a word ‘e’s saying.”

Spectator #2: “Shh!”

Spectator #1: “I think ‘e’s saying, ‘blessed are the cheesemakers.'”

Here are the requirements of another cheesemaker-certifying organization, this one from the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison: applicants must be active, licensed Wisconsine cheesemakers for at least 10 consecutive years before starting the program , which consists of 8 courses. It’s no laughing matter, and strictly adheres to the standards of its European cheesemaking roots.

Certification assures a person’s qualifications to perform a particular task, and certification programs usually are administered by organizations that want to raise the standard of the profession, like the association. Let us know what you think about certification for the interim field.