Ralphs Grocery Company is proud to announce that its associate Nicki Smock has been named a Certified Cheese Professionals™ by the American Cheese Society.
Smock, a Ralphs Cheese Specialist and resident of Long Beach, is part of an elite group of 187 individuals from 51 different companies who passed the 4th annual ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam. The exam was held on July 29 in Providence, Rhode Island.
Smock is the first Ralphs associate to earn the ASC’s Certified Cheese Professional designation.
The ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam is the first and only exam of its kind. It was established by the American Cheese Society to promote the large and comprehensive world of cheeses and encourage food industry professionals to master the knowledge.
“We are proud of Nicki for dedicating herself to her craft and sharing her passion for cheese with our customers,” said Donna Giordano, President of Ralphs. “Her designation as a Certified Cheese Professional™ is an inspiration to Ralphs’ cheese masters who take pride in delighting their customers.”
Passing the American Cheese Society’s CCP exam is no small feat. Before being allowed to sit for the exam, cheese people must have 4,000 hours of work and/or formal education in the cheese-field under their belt.
“It’s a great honor to be the first Ralphs associate to complete the exam and become a Certified Cheese Professional,” said Smock. “I look forward to using my certification, knowledge and experience to train our Ralphs cheese masters to better serve our customers.”
As a Ralphs Cheese Specialist, Smock is responsible for the overseeing the operation of the 22 Murray’s Cheese Shops that are located inside Ralphs stores. Smock managed Ralphs’ first Murray’s Cheese Shop, which opened inside its Marina Pacifica store in Long Beach in 2013. She joined Ralphs in 2006 as a Deli Department Clerk.
In recognition of becoming a Certified Cheese Professional, Smock will receive an official lapel pin, embroidered patch, certificate and the right to use the title ACS Certified Cheese Professional™. As an ACS Certified Cheese Professional, Smock will be required to demonstrate continued active participation within the cheese industry and continued professional development to maintain this credential, and will be required to recertify every three years.
Through an exclusive partnership with New York City’s Murray’s Cheese, Ralphs stores feature 22 Murray’s Cheese Shops in its stores from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Featuring more than 175 cheeses and specialty goods from all over the world, the Murray’s Cheese Shops are staffed by Ralphs associates who have been trained by Murray’s experts in New York.