Enda Howley

Irish Cheese Grader

Enda Howley’s story reads like a cheese lover’s fairy tale. In 2001, the Irish Dairy Board held a company-wide sensory panel taste-off, searching for the next cheese grader. Only two highly skilled graders are entrusted with the maturing and aging of the company’s Kerrygold cheeses, and one was set to retire.

“To my amazement – and everyone else’s – we discovered that I was a super taster. I was surprised myself when I was told I had a heightened sense of taste that enables me to pick up the most delicately nuanced flavors,” Howley said. An international food marketer for the Irish Dairy Board, Howley was anointed the next cheese grader, diverting his career to an unexpected new path.

Howley plays a critical role in making natural cheese. He ensures that the right cheeses are selected for maturing and aging. Throughout the maturation process, he tastes the cheeses, and continues to grade and select, month after month, until the cheeses reach perfection.

An avowed “foodie,” Howley has many creative ways to use the cheeses he so carefully nurtures. For a quick but delicious lunch, he turns Dubliner into a ploughman’s sandwich, taking inspiration from the classic Irish ploughman’s lunch, a meat-and-cheese salad, Howley’s version packs everything onto rustic bread, ready to enjoy with a pint.

 Enda’s Ploughman’s Sandwich recipe