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Carrying the Torch

What exactly does it take to be considered a cheese professional? Sure, you need to understand the science behind cheesemaking, be able to identify tasting notes with certainty, and have a vast mental database of cheeses at your disposal. Equipped with this arsenal, you are technically qualified to consider yourself an expert, and, with the right letters after your name, can command the mic at any cheese conference or competition. 

But what about the other qualities, the ones not as easily discerned? Murray’s Cheese seeks to award a scholarship to an ambitious cheesemonger who not only can prove their cheese chops on paper, but who also possesses the intangible qualities of the man for whom the new scholarship is named. 

Colin Ming was a Regional Team Lead for Murray’s national team who worked specifically with the Kroger grocery chain after joining the team in 2015. Ming used his passion for food and years in the food and beverage industries to his and his company’s advantage, bringing fine cheeses from the world over to Kroger stores across the country. Ming sadly passed away in June of 2019, and is remembered for his energy, leadership, kindness, and passion for food and the people who make it. It is Murray’s intention to carry on his legacy of enthusiasm and authenticity through offering the Colin Ming Certified Cheese Professional Scholarship to an aspiring cheesemonger who embodies the same qualities. 

Ming was poised to take his Certified Cheese Professional exam through the American Cheese Society when he passed, which would have marked him as an authority in the field. A “CCP” after his name would have given him license to direct and adjudicate all manner of educational opportunities, national competitions, and conferences, not to mention render him invaluable to those working with him in a cheese-related capacity. The various tiers of ACS certifications—which include Certified Cheese Professional (CCP), Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator (CCSE), and CCP Authorized Educator—are the crème de la crème of American cheese expertise. Selling, buying, judging, teaching, and studying cheese takes staggering encyclopedic knowledge, and ACS seeks to recognize mongers who have gone the extra mile to learn and utilize this knowledge to bring the good word to cheese lovers everywhere. Murray’s offers a 16-week course designed to train and prepare aspiring CCPs for the rigorous exam. 

The Colin Ming CCP Scholarship will serve as a tribute to a monger and leader who made a lasting impact on his team in the four years he spent with Murray’s. The company is seeking applicants who share Ming’s love of the cheese world, eagerness to pass on knowledge, and compassion for his team and customers. The 2020 scholarship recipients will: 

  1. Participate in Murray’s signature 16-week CCP training program (remote participation welcome)
  2. Sit for the CCP exam
  3. Attend the 2020 ACS conference in Portland, Ore. (includes exam fees, conference attendance, travel to conference, and hotel accommodations)

The fully completed application is due no later than March 6, 2020. Scholarship recipients will be notified the week of March 16, 2020. If awarded this scholarship, recipients’ ACS applications are due to ACS by March 31, 2020.

More information about Colin Ming, ACS, and the scholarship can be found here


Margaret Leahy

Margaret Leahy is a Contributing Editor at culture.

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