Our Board of Trustees

Alison Swan Parente MBE DL - Founder

Alison studied social anthropology at LSE and went on to have a long career as a child psychotherapist both in the USA and then the NHS.

She was a long time Chair of Trustees at the Women’s Therapy Centre in London and Trustee of many other charities. On “retirement” she founded the School of Artisan Food, a not-for-profit organisation that not only aims to raise aspirations, revive lost skills and provide routes into employment but looks at the future of sustainable food in a rapidly changing economic and environmental context.  Alison is in the livery of The Worshipful Company of Bakers, is a Dame d’Éscoffier and is on the Council of Sustain. 

Nick Hatton - Chair

Nick is our Chair of Trustees and an enthusiastic amateur chef and baker.

Nick first came to the school in 2013 as a participant and became a trustee in 2020. He is a chartered accountant and a partner in a global professional services firm.

Alongside his financial expertise, Nick brings a passion for diversity, inclusion and social mobility and strongly believes in opening up access to the world of artisan food production to all, regardless of background. 


Fran Warde - Trustee

Joining the board of SAF in 2019 was great honour as it has always been a centre of excellence in my opinion in the teaching of artisan food.

Having trained as a chef, followed by a Management Training Scheme at The Cafe Royal I then packed my bags and worked as a private cook around the world. This broadened my kitchen outlook,  influenced my style and gave me the opportunity to start writing cookery books and working as the Food Editor for Red Magazine and writing for other papers and magazines.

I co-wrote the award winning The French Kitchen, The French Market with Joanne Harris along with The Ginger Pig Meat Book and The Ginger Pig Farmhouse Kitchen. My last book was for the charity Maggie's Cancer Care Centres Living well with Cancer with all the profits going to Maggie’s charity.

I founded  Cookbook Kitchen , The home of eating for curious cooks and just recenty a group of friends launched the Chiswick Cheese Market which brings together makers, mongers and eaters with over 100 carefully selected cheeses being offered every third Sunday of the month. 

Daniel Jessel - Trustee

Dr Daniel Jessel has degrees from LSE and Oxford and was a Lecturer in quantitative economics at Southampton University before joining Chase Econometrics a subsidiary of Chase Manhattan Bank.  

In 1986 Daniel founded and directed the consulting company, MSI Ltd, which was sold in 2008 to Howe Robinson Partners where he is retained as the senior consultant economist. Daniel’s interest in artisan food is almost entirely related to consumption rather than production but he is an ardent supporter of The School of Artisan Food and its charitable objectives and has been its treasurer since 2011.

Susan Amaku - Trustee

Susan is an accredited Specialist Conservation Architect. She has been involved with SAF since its inception as the architect for the conversion of the Grade II listed building into the school and bakery.

She studied at Bath and Sheffield Universities and is a Director of a private practice.  Whilst her expertise relates historic buildings and places, she has an interest in the cultural associations of food and its importance to health and wellbeing.

Joe Schneider - Trustee

Joe has been involved with the School of Artisan Food since it was founded in 2009, first of all on the advisory board and now as a full Trustee.

Joe was born, and spent his childhood in America where he studied Agricultural Engineering at Cornell University.

Between '95 and '98, Joe and his wife moved to Holland where Audre had secured a job with Philips. Whilst there, Joe met a Turkish gentleman, Caner Gurses, who had just begun making Turkish Feta and as such, Joe’s journey into cheesemaking had begun. Visiting numerous dairies around Holland, he learnt how to make Gouda and different goats’ cheeses.

In '98, the couple moved to Sussex, where he joined a small team on a Biodynamic farm. The farm produced milk, vegetables and meat, and Joe was responsible for processing the milk into cheese, yoghurt, and cream.

In 2001 the couple moved to the Cotswolds where they worked for Lord and Lady Bamford on their Estate. Joe designed and built Daylesford Creamery and produced several cheeses which were sold through Daylesford Organic Farm Shop, as well as to other wholesale and retail customers around the UK. It was here that Joe got to know Randolph Hodgson, owner of Neals Yard Dairy in London.

In 2004 Randolph approached Joe with an exciting project, to return to the traditional way of making stilton cheese using raw milk, on a farm. Randolph had sold the very last of the raw milk Stilton ever produced in England in 1988. Ever since then, the cheese in its proper traditional form has been extinct as all Stilton’s are made in a handful of large factories, and must be made using pasteurised milk.

Joe and Randolph found the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire, who were interested in the project. They had the land, the cows, and the buildings to get this project off the ground, with Joe making the cheese and Randolph selling it. In 2006 this plan became a reality & the very first Stichelton cheese was made on the Welbeck Estate.