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SCU hosts Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference


Steve Spinks
24 October 2013

A diet focused on local foods and supporting local economies need not be at odds with culinary cosmopolitanism, argues a Southern Cross University academic.

How can one experience ‘real’ Italian cuisine if you only buy locally-made parmesan? How can one justify pouring Megachef oyster sauce on the eggs, chili and spring onions all grown in your own backyard? But does locavorism in fact have to be in opposition to cosmopolitanism?

This seeming dichotomy between buying local and embracing cosmopolitism in food is explored by Tammi Jonas who will present her paper – ‘Chinese oyster sauce on backyard eggs: cosmopolitan locavorism’ – at the third annual Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference in Daylesford, Victoria, from October 29 to 31.

The event is hosted by Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, with support from Le Cordon Bleu Australia, SCU’s Regional Food Network, Daylesford Macedon Produce, Bloomsbury Publishing and Holgate Brewhouse.

According to the University’s Dr Erica Wilson, this year’s conference convenor, the conference continues to grow in stature, reflecting SCU’s leadership in regional food research and education.

“Food is enjoying an unprecedented focus in global media as well as in the minds of consumers. While food has become truly a global trade, increasingly, consumers are focusing on food from a local perspective. The renewal of interest in food origin, how it is produced and by whom, its impact upon our lives, our environment, our cultures as well as its security into the future are some of the threads of discussion which will feature at the conference,” she said.

“This is the third conference, and it is again unique in bringing together people interested in what food – and wine – means to regions. Whether you are an academic, a food or wine producer, a regional tourism operator, an independent food scholar, a local government manager, or just a dedicated foodie, our program offers a fascinating range of food and wine topics.

“We are particularly delighted to welcome two esteemed food leaders as our keynotes. Professor Michael Hall from Canterbury University in New Zealand is one of the leading researchers in food tourism, and is presenting on sustainable destination foodsheds. Alla Wolf-Tasker, AM, is the owner of the Lakehouse Restaurant in Daylesford, currently listed as one of Australia’s Hottest 50 restaurants and has spent several decades championing regional food. Alla will discuss her journey of building Daylesford into what is now one of the country’s top culinary destinations.”

As part of its commitment to regional food systems and cultures, Southern Cross University has established the Regional Food Network which is a network of scholars and practitioners in the field. The RFN is focused on the development of multidisciplinary, collaborative, knowledge-driven partnerships within and across regions in the Asia Pacific.

The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management and Le Cordon Bleu Australia are also in collaboration to offer an innovative postgraduate course, the Le Cordon Bleu Master of Gastronomic Tourism. The course combines an academic approach to understanding food and drink with historical, cultural and contemporary contexts, integrated with tourism business management applications.

Photo: Local food on the agenda at the third Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference. Picture: DMP.