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Neil Willman

About Neil

Neil has spent his entire working life in the dairy industry.  Raised on a dairy farm in the 1950s, he then worked on the farm whilst growing up.  After leaving high school he studied Dairy Technology at Gilbert Chandler Institute of Dairy Technology in city of Werribee, Victoria, Australia.  
He worked with Murray Goulburn co-op for 5 years before returning to Gilbert Chandler to work.  His work involved research, extension and then finally education and consulting.  For 25 years Neil was responsible for training most of Australia's specialty cheesemakers.  

From 2000-2006, Neil operated the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers Advisory Service, to provide technical support via a helpdesk to Australia’s specialist cheesemakers.

 At the end of 2009 he moved to New Zealand as Principal and Director of the New Zealand Cheese School, where he oversees all training programs and deliver the industry training courses. 

Master Cheesemaker, Master Cheese Grader and Master of Cheese, Neil has trained most Australian and many of New Zealand’s cheesemakers, cheese judges, food media, and cheese lovers at Melbourne University over the past 30 years. He has moved on from the university and now consults to the Australian and New Zealand cheese fraternity.  

In May and early June  2011 Neil was selected to represent Australia as Australia's Cheese Master in a regional promotion of Australian cheese in a 5 nation program, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia.

From 2016 until 2019 Neil is working on a project in Peru with the aim to assist cheesemakers in poorer regions to improve their cheese quality and methods.

Neil has been a specialist cheese competition judge for the past 22 years in Australia and  a guest judge at the World Championship Cheese Contest in the USA in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2010.  He was also a guest judge at the British Cheese Awards in 1999 and Master Judge of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association’s “Cuisine Champions of Cheese” awards, 2008 and 2009.  He remains the Head Judge of the two largest dairy competitions in Australia and is now a veteran of over 100 competitions.

Neil has written most of the training manuals for the Australian and New Zealand cheese industries. His most recent work is a book for home cheesemakers, Cheese – The Guide to making your own and ‘Home Cheesemaking’.

As well as being known as Mr Cheese to the Australian and New Zealand Industries Neil is well known and highly respected around the world in his profession and is a veteran of 27 international cheese trips.

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