Posted on November 21, 2017
Alison Swan Parente and William Parente from the Welbeck Estate in North Nottinghamshire have been presented with their respective Honours today (21 November) by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, at Buckingham Palace.
Alison, founder of the School of Artisan Food, was awarded an MBE for her dedication to the charity and education sectors. She was at Buckingham Palace to receive her award with her husband William Parente who was receiving a CBE for services to the Arts and Philanthropy.
The School of Artisan Food, set up by Alison in 2009 with the help of a development agency grant, is the first educational establishment dedicated entirely to the teaching of traditional artisan food skills including baking, cheesemaking and butchery.
The CBE awarded to William Parente follows the commission of the £5 million RIBA award winning art gallery to show one of Britain’s largest aristocratic art collections. The Portland Collection exhibits rare masterpieces by Michelangelo, Van Dyck, and even the earring worn by Charles I at his execution in 1649, and is free to enter. William is a Trustee on many different charities.
Talking about her decision to found the School, Alison said: “My background - working with challenging adolescents - led me to believe that everyone has the potential to contribute to society, however unpromising a start they have. Showing people the magic of transforming flour and water into bread, milk and rennet into cheese and curing raw meats to become charcuterie was where we started. This soon widened out into an interest in the whole food system and how basic it is to our culture, health and economic life.
"The School of Artisan Food is a small beacon of good practise in education about healthy, sustainable food. Our students are not only eminently employable, but also take into the workplace fine skills, a great work ethic, environmental awareness and open, entrepreneurial minds."
Welbeck is one of the great historic country estates, covering 15,000 acres across Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire - with Welbeck Village at its heart.
The estate works to develop inspiring spaces in which to create and innovate. It is home to a thriving community of artisan producers including The School of Artisan Food, Stichelton cheese, Welbeck Abbey Brewery and Welbeck Bakehouse.
The Courtyard at Welbeck is home to the Welbeck Farm Shop, one of the country’s top farm shops, the award-winning Harley Gallery, showing contemporary exhibitions as well as the historic Portland Collection.