The Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference 2012 was hosted in the beautiful Barossa valley of South Australia by Le Cordon Bleu Australia. Supported by our higher education partner, Southern Cross University, the event showcased small producers from regions around Australia and some representation from overseas (Philippines and Malaysia).
Opened by Le Cordon Bleu COO Derrick Casey the conference, put together by Academic Services Unit team members, ensured themes of sustainability and community engagement were to the fore.
Presentations were of a high standard and subjects ranged from the health benefits of almonds to the goals of farmers’ markets, the community benefit of wine trails, and the implications of ethical eating. Presenters all endorsed the idea of a regional network that could be facilitated online.
The conference website, built by Le Cordon Bleu, will remain active and hopefully help with the effort to link industry, educators and researchers in the field of food and wine production, business and tourism.
Le Cordon Bleu employees were on deck to help with the running of the conference, which also provided a showcase for our existing and new degree programs. In addition, the Research Grant Fund between Le Cordon Bleu and The University of South Australia was launched at the conference dinner, together with an announcement about the new Le Cordon Bleu Enterprise Challenge 2013. A collaboration between Kay Richardson (Children’s Food Education Foundation) and Le Cordon Bleu, this revamped program (formally, the Farm to Table Challenge) will be focused on giving high schools the opportunity to work with communities in developing products and services involving food and drink. Vickie Lester (Trinity College, Gawler), the mentor for the winning team in 2009, was on hand to give a rousing talk about the educational value of such programs. Kay also spoke. The winner of the new Challenge will be granted a Le Cordon Bleu scholarship into one of our new entrepreneurship degrees.
Feedback from attendees has been entirely positive and thanks must go to all those involved in helping to make it happen! The next conference is likely to be in Victoria next year, but we’ll keep you all posted.