The New Zealand Vegan Cheese Awards

Celebrating the craft and skill of Vegan cheese makers throughout Aotearoa.

Vegan Cheese Awards

Welcome to New Zealand’s Vegan Cheese Awards 2022

Our awards for excellence in vegan food production have been embraced by NZ food producers and we are delighted to present our first awards for cheese.

We Kiwis love cheese and with the many vegan cheese options being created we too can enjoy a fancy cheese board or a cheesy pizza or pie. There are now so many different vegan cheeses available in New Zealand that we can taste test them all and find out which are the best!
You can tell your friends that this cheese is sure to please.

Our awards celebrate the best vegan cheeses that New Zealand has to offer. Judging took place on 22nd July at The Butcher’s Son.

This years cheese categories:

    • Commercial & Flavoured Cheddar
    • Artisan Cheddar
    • Mozzarella
    • Feta
    • Cream Cheese (plain and flavoured)
    • Soft Cheese (ricotta, other spreadable types)
    • Flavoured Cheese (herb, cumin, etc)
    • Hard Cheese (parmesan, hard grating styles)
    • Surface Ripened & Blue Cheese (covers brie, camembert and blue)

Meet the Judges 2022

Helping us to discover the best of NZ vegan cheese in 2022!

aaron Pucci
Jasbir Kaur
Alara Varnell
Michael Khu

Aaron Pucci has clocked up 25 years in the food and beverage manufacturing industry.

His trusted palate has earned him numerous seats on judging panels for awards in New Zealand and Australia over 15 years.

Aaron is always on the lookout for new brands and products ~ especially those that are breaking new ground.

Aaron’s ‘food for thought’ is a desire for more manufacturers to take up the challenge of sustainable food operations and reducing their carbon footprint.

Multi-award-winning executive chef & trainer, TV personality, creative head and chef of the new series “Ignite the Chef in You” and President of the NZ Chef Association Auckland, Chef Jazz is an external verifier for City and Guilds, UK.

She has been judging in New Zealand’s Regional and National culinary salon competitions for the past nine years and is deputy chief judge for the Hospitality Championships.

She has worked in top hotels and restaurants in five countries – USA, UK, India, New Zealand and Spain.

Vegan Chef, Business owner and trainer.

Having grown up on a dairy farm and worked for MAF early on, Alara moved into Restaurant Management in London in early 2000’s before returning to NZ to start a food production company in 2008 -bringing the first artisan cultured nut cheeses to NZ in 2011.

She is passionate about innovating new vegan products, starting NZs first Vegan Deli and later opening an Eatery in Parnell.

Her interests lie in supporting farming communities, people and animals together to find more harmonious ways to thrive.

Michael Khuwattenasenee is the brains behind Khu Khu.

He was inspired to make it a vegan restaurant after completing a 30-day vegan challenge.

While doing the challenge, he struggled to find any decent vegan places to go out to eat with friends. Thus, Khu Khu, a fully vegan Thai Eatery, was born.

Michael has a Master’s of Technological Futures and Entrepreneurial studies.

He’s a purpose-driven entrepreneur at heart, with a variety of different business ventures on the go, including BioFab, one of the 2019 C-Prize Finalists. BioFab aims to rid the world of polystyrene by replacing it with eco-friendly fungi-based materials.

Photos from Vegan Cheese Awards 2022