“Artisan” is a term used to describe food produced by non-industrialised methods, often handed down through generations but now in danger of being lost. Tastes and processes, such as fermentation, are allowed to develop slowly and naturally, rather than curtailed for mass-production.
There is no single definition of artisan food. Artisan producers should understand and respect the raw materials with which they work, they should know where these materials come from and what is particularly good about them. They should have mastered the craft of their particular production and have a historical, experiential, intuitive and scientific understanding of what makes the process that they are engaged in successful. They should know what tastes good and be sensitive to the impact of their production on people and the environment.
Artisan food producers get better over time and probably never stop improving or tweaking their practise, learning from other people and their own mistakes.
Artisan food is fun to learn about. Ingredients which ferment have a habit of surprising you!
Understanding and mastering artisan processes, such as bread making, cheese making, brewing and charcuterie and confectionery, produces a great sense of achievement and wonderful new skills. The School of Artisan Food teaches these skills from a beginner’s level through to much more advanced courses for experienced practitioners.