“Wet the cheese” (wetting the cheese) – By @Benedicttatham

Benedict Tatham

By Benedict Tatham


“Wet the cheese” (wetting the cheese)


1. A moment or action that affects notable change in any given way.

(‘Wet the Cheese’) e.g “ I was leading the race when all of a sudden my opponent really started to wet the cheese and eventually he passed me.”

(‘Wetting the cheese’) e.g with a group of your best friends having a laugh “wow we are really wetting the cheese”



The exact date of the origin of the phrase is uncertain, but it is understood that at around midday, sometime in the middle of October 2014, maud Can Der Knaap, an account handler at the brand agency ‘VBAT’ in Amsterdam, was attempting to grate the cheese from a quarter of gruyere when she accidentally dropped the quarter when into a bowl of fresh yogurt, almost completely submerging the cheese entirely. 

Maud, unable to fathom this most unlikely of events was left stunned and uncertain how to proceed. Luckily, a quick thinking member of the catering team removed the quarter wheel with a clean pair of kitchen prongs, the kind typically used to flip toasties not the Forman grill (how he managed this feet is a mystery, some say a miracle). He then thoughtfully took the cheese to the sink where he began to do what no man had done before, rinse the cheese undertake tap before placing back on the cheese board to be used again. The unnamed, was the first person to “wet the cheese.”

Cultural Effects

It is said that although maud, shocked and unamused, failed to see the significance of the event. the people in the queue were in raptures. The story then began to be relayed amongst the employees of the agency. Above all, the creatives found the term ‘wet the cheese’ or ‘wetting the cheese’ pleasantly versatile. The phrase would thrive and mature eventually becoming adapted and frequently used in everyday conversation.


Despite it’s popularity and general use, the phrase (although universally understood in the correct context in any language) was notoriously difficult to define in literary terms. Many attempts were made at defining the phrase, but each failed to capture it’s undeniably multifaceted personality. It was only on the 1st of January 2015 that Benedict Tatham, made the best attempt at defining the phrase since the birth of it’s origin. Tatham is said to have been standing by Maud when the incident occurred and his definition is the most widely accepted, which he claims came to him in the exact moment the cheese was wetted.


Since the incident, the phrase has become common folklore amongst design and advertising agencies alike. Famously used in the swiss advert “Wet my cheese” (Emmi) featuring Allan Partridge whom, having rinsed the cheese under a sink tap proceeds to chase members of the public around with it saying “Wet my cheese, wet my cheese!” It is said that the prongs used in the advert were the original prongs first used to ‘Wet the cheese’ at VBAT. The prongs are now kept in the Van Der Knaap museum in Amsterdam.

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