Meet The World Championship Cheese Judges

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association is hosting the World Championship Cheese Contest March 5-7 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison. This week, they published the list of skilled dairy industry experts that will evaluate thousands of dairy product entries in the competition.

This year’s expert judging team includes 53 cheese graders, cheese buyers, dairy science professors, and researchers from 19 countries and 11 U.S. states. Eighteen are from Wisconsin.

  • Jill Allen, Tillamook Cheese – Oregon, USA
  • Greg Anderson, The Kroger Company – Wisconsin, USA
  • Dr. Gabriele Arlotti, CheeseItaly – Italy
  • Ir. Maarten Bakker, Royal FrieslandCampina – Netherlands
  • Marc Bates, Bates Consulting LLC – Oregon, USA
  • K.J. Burrington, American Dairy Products Institute – Wisconsin, USA
  • Mirjana Curic-Bawden, Ph.D., Chr. Hansen – Wisconsin, USA
  • Dominique Delugeau, Saputo – Wisconsin, USA
  • Dr. Nana Farkye, Cal Poly – California, USA
  • Jessica Fernández Lopez, Lactography – Mexico
  • Adrian Fowler, Fowlers Forest Dairies Ltd. – United Kingdom
  • Dr. Mucio Furtado, IFF – Brazil
  • Chad Galer, Dairy Management, Inc. – Illinois, USA
  • Craig Gile, Cabot Creamery Cooperative – Vermont, USA
  • Enda Howley, Ornua – Ireland
  • John Jaeggi, Center for Dairy Research – Wisconsin, USA
  • Luis Jiménez-Maroto, Center for Dairy Research – Wisconsin, USA
  • Lars Johannes-Nielsen, Danish Dairy Board – Denmark
  • Andy Johnson, Dairy Connection, Inc. – Wisconsin, USA
  • Aileen Kacvinsky, Schuman Cheese – Wisconsin, USA
  • Prof. Samir Kalit, Ph.D., University of Zagreb – Croatia
  • Dr. Kerry Kaylegian, Penn State University – Pennsylvania, USA
  • Dieter Koch-Hartke, DMK Dairies – Germany
  • Kyle Koll, Sargento Foods – Wisconsin, USA
  • Drew Kordus, Great Lakes Cheese – Wisconsin, USA
  • Laura Laehn, Masters Gallery Foods – Wisconsin, USA
  • Dr. Susan Larson, Center for Dairy Research – Wisconsin, USA
  • Terry Lensmire, Lensmire Dairy Consulting – Wisconsin, USA
  • Dr. Arnoldo Lopez-Hernandez, University of Wisconsin-Madison – Wisconsin, USA
  • Thierry Martin, Agropur – Canada
  • Christophe Megevand, Schuman Cheese – New Jersey, USA
  • Lloyd Metzger, Valley Queen Cheese – South Dakota, USA
  • Dr. Takayuki Miura, Nippon Veterinary & Life Sciences University – Japan
  • Kate Neumeier Clarke, Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese – Wisconsin, USA
  • Per Olesen, St. Clemens Food Products – Denmark
  • Mike Pederson, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (Retired) – Wisconsin, USA
  • Gurth Pretty, Lakeview Cheese Galore – Canada
  • Miguel Rolo, Etapa Improvável – Portugal
  • Dr. Giuseppe Rostiti, Dairy Technical Sales Consultant – Italy
  • Dr. Francisco de Asís Ruiz Morales, Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training – Spain
  • David Satterness, Chr. Hansen (Retired) – South Dakota, USA
  • Rosanne Sluijs, Cono Cheese Makers – Netherlands
  • Russell Smith, Dairy Australia – Australia
  • Dean Sommer, Center for Dairy Research – Wisconsin, USA
  • Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Market – Texas, USA
  • Suresh Sutariya, IFF – Kansas, USA
  • Jason Tarrant, Talley’s Group Limited – New Zealand
  • Ernesto Toalombo, Colonia Láctica – Ecuador
  • Stefan Truttmann, FROMARTE – Switzerland
  • Prof. Milna Tudor Kalit, Ph.D., University of Zagreb – Croatia
  • Eric Vorpahl, Masters Gallery Foods – Wisconsin, USA
  • Dr. Richard Weiss, Obersteirische Molkerei – Austria
  • Julie Winans, Chr. Hansen – Utah, USA

The competition will once again be overseen by the World Championship Cheese Contest leadership team, comprised of nine longtime dairy professionals:

  • Chief Judge Jim Mueller, Mueller Consulting
  • Chief Judge Emeritus Bob Aschebrock
  • Chief Judge Emeritus Bill Schlinsog
  • Assistant Chief Judge Tim Czmowski, Agropur (Retired)
  • Assistant Chief Judge Stan Dietsche, Oshkosh Cold Storage
  • Assistant Chief Judge Josef Hubatschek, ALPMA (Retired)
  • Assistant Chief Judge Mariana Marques de Almeida, Ms. J and Co.
  • Assistant Chief Judge Sandy Toney, Masters Gallery Foods
  • Director of Logistics Randy Swensen, Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese

The World Championship Cheese Contest is the world’s largest technical dairy products evaluation. In 2022, judges evaluated 2,978 entries, with Gourmino Le Gruyère, made by Michael Spycher of Mountain Dairy Fritzenhaus in Bern, Switzerland, earning an impressive 98.423 out of 100 to win the top spot.

This year, the public is welcome to observe the preliminary rounds of judging live and in-person from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 5-6. Fans of great cheese are also encouraged to tune in online for the live-streamed announcement of the next World Champion Cheese at 2 p.m. CT on March 7.