SA home to Australia's first artisan cheese academy

Wednesday 15 August 2012 | From Dairy Australia

Adelaide will host the nation’s first Artisan Cheese Making Academy to address the training gap for small scale cheese makers in Australia.

Minister for Food Gail Gago will launch the Academy at TAFE’s Regency campus in Adelaide this afternoon.

Minister Gago said the Academy would build on the previous work of the Cheese Maker in Residence program, which identified a lack of technical training available to smaller cheese makers.

“The Artisan cheese maker’s craft involves the skill of making small batch, hand made cheeses. The Academy will bring together experts to share their skills and teach this unique craft.

“The State Government is providing a grant of $60,000 for the employment of a business development officer, to guide the establishment and promotion of the Academy,” she said. “The officer will also actively assist the dairy industry to become more involved in specialty or artisan cheese making and engage visiting international cheese experts in master class forums.

“The Academy will initially be promoted locally, but students from interstate and New Zealand will also be recruited. It’s exciting that students will be able to exercise their creative flair, while working in a safe and technically sound environment.

“This is an important collaboration between the government and the South Australian food sector, which will directly strengthen our local industry. The Artisan Cheese Making Academy will further position our State as a producer of premium food and wine,” she said.

Chair of the steering committee set up to explore the potential for an Academy of Artisan Cheese Making, Kris Lloyd, said this was an exciting and much needed development for the local industry. Ms Lloyd said it was important to boost South Australia’s capacity to train people with unique skills and to continue to develop this emerging industry along with other artisan food sectors.

“This Academy will offer the full range of technical and scientific training for students, and the general community, to learn the art of making both hard and soft artisan cheeses,” she said. “Students will be able to enroll in both online and hands-on workshops, either as individual units or to complete a Certificate III (trade level) in Cheese Making qualification. Individuals interested in cheese making at home will also be able to join classes.

“There is plenty of room for growth in the artisan cheese sector in Australia, and this Academy places SA at the head of the game, ready to capitalise on the growing demand for local, premium and unique foods. “The Academy will develop and grow, which will help to cement South Australia as a leader in the food industry.”

Kris Lloyd is well known around Australia as a pioneer in the cheese sector, as manager and head cheese maker of successful Adelaide Hills business Woodside Cheese Wrights.