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Posted on January 04, 2017
Alison Swan Parente, founder of the School of Artisan Food, was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s honours list. This well-deserved honour is a fitting tribute to her unwavering dedication to services to the charity and education sectors and is a recognition of the part played by artisan food in our economy and our culture.
“I am delighted to receive the MBE in the New Year's honours list” says Alison. “I am particularly pleased that it recognises the charitable work of the School of Artisan Food which I established to educate and train people from all backgrounds in artisan food skills.”
“It has been thrilling to be able to develop The School and I hope this honour raises its profile and encourages everyone to learn more about what we do.”
The School of Artisan Food, founded in 2009, with the help of a development agency grant, is the first educational establishment dedicated entirely to the teaching of traditional breadmaking, cheese making and butchery skills.
The school arose when Alison opened an artisan bakery and found it almost impossible to find a baker who knew about long fermentation. Having located a Polish baker in Lusaka on the internet she decided there must be a skills gap. Eight years later, The School has welcomed thousands of students through its doors and many small businesses have been launched as a result, including Martha Brown of Forge Bakehouse, Sheffield and Clare Barton of Bakehouse at 124, Tonbridge.
The School focuses on the promotion of healthy eating and a sustainable food system, and is a registered charity that fundraises for bursaries for longer courses. It aims to increase local and national employability in the artisan food sector as well as to promote the creation of small food businesses.
The school holds an annual public lecture weekend, Food for Thought, as well as regular weekends on healthy eating after a diagnosis of serious illness. It is an acknowledged centre of excellence, attracting visitors from abroad as well as local students.