Those of us who live in SA and are familiar with the wealth of premium food which is available here know exactly what it is we have to be proud of, but it’s nice sometimes to see that the rest of the world is noticing what we are doing, too. Such was the case over the weekend when a newspaper article saluting Adelaide food appeared in The Los Angeles Times.
Published in the travel section, but on the weekend of the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival so therefore priceless in terms of foodie PR, the article was nothing short of effusive in its praises of Adelaide and South Australian food. The author Janice Cooke Newman managed to fit in a fairly broad SA food experience,in what was probably a short amount of time, and seemed pretty bowled over by the whole lot. No surprises to us of course, but it was great to see the likes of Dennis Leslie from Adelaide’s Hilton being admired for his proudly SA menu which magnificently showcases not only the products, but their distinctive provenance, alongside the praise being heaped upon a range of venues, from the Adelaide Central Market to The Locavore in the Adelaide Hills.
While we are sometimes overlooked by the louder, brasher Eastern States, South Australia is no slouch when it comes to all aspects of food and food production and last week saw us notch up another very significant ‘first’ in that department. I’ve written several times in the past about the achievements of my friend Kris Lloyd the Woodside Cheese Wright, and at the risk of labouring the point, I’m about to do so again.
When Kris first started her cheese business she did so with virtually no local resources from which to learn. She found basic courses presented by the Department of Primary Industry, but these focused largely upon commercial production of cheese and couldn’t supply her with the detail she found missing when it came to learning about artisan cheeses made from goats, sheep or buffalo milk. Once she began to travel overseas in an effort to gain more knowledge it became very clear to her that we had a glaring need here for the kind of cheesemaking schools and courses which she was finding in Europe – I think you can guess the rest.
Subsequent to the identification of a lack of technical training available to the growing field of smaller Australian cheese makers and putting Adelaide well ahead of the game nationally, last week at the Regency Park TAFE college Australia’s first Artisan Cheese Making Academy was launched by the SA Minister for Food, Gail Gago. This exciting initiative will not only provide much needed education and support for the ever increasing number of artisan cheese producers, filling the existing training gaps for small scale producers, but will also go some way to providing mentors for budding artisan producers as they learn from those already skilled in the field. The Academy will offer the full range of scientific and technical training in both hard and soft artisan cheeses through online lessons and hands-on workshops, resulting in a trade-level qualification certificate in Cheese Making, which also offers an option for those interested in making cheese at home to join classes.
There is a growing interest in artisan food products across the board in Australia and the Artisan Cheese Making Academy will go a long way towards cementing South Australia as a leader in the food industry as we produce not only local, but interstate and New Zealand crafts-people with unique skills and the necessary techniques to back up their creative flair.
The range of subjects available at the Artisan Cheese Making Academy is listed on the TAFE site here, or email queries here – firstname.lastname@example.org