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Founder of The School of Artisan Food in East Midlands Makes TV Debut

Posted on April 17, 2018

BBC Two’s new series Top of the Shop with Tom Kerridge, gives enthusiastic kitchen table producers an opportunity to showcase their produce to real customers. During the eight episodes, food producers attempt to convince expert judges Alison Swan Parente, founder of The School of Artisan Food, and food writer and restaurateur Nisha Katona that their product is the best and deserves a permanent space in the shop.

The programme will showcase the wares of up and coming amateur food producers. Judging alongside Nisha Katona, Alison will examine products from categories including chutneys and preserves, to cheese and chocolate.

Alison founded The School of Artisan Food in 2009 in the heart of the historic Welbeck Estate lying between Nottingham and Sheffield when she realised she couldn't find any good artisan bakers for the bakery she had set up.

She will be making her TV debut with the first episode due to air on Tuesday 17 April on BBC Two at 8pm; followed by Episode Two on Wednesday 18 April.

Explaining why she is taking part in the show, Alison said: “After the Second World War we fell in love with convenience food. It was a revolution in so many ways and it did bring huge advantages, particularly for women. Along with a number of other social changes, it helped free them from the kitchen, but in the rush for quicker, more convenient food within a couple of generations the recipes and skills which would have normally been handed down began to disappear. What was gained in some ways was lost in others, in terms of health, quality and taste, as food became more and more processed.

"I realised that if we didn’t do something to halt the decline very quickly, the art of not just baking, but everything from pickling to jam making and butchery would become obsolete. That's why I founded The School of Artisan Food in 2009 and also why I said yes to taking part in Top of the Shop, as both are about going back to basics and reconnecting with good food."

For more information on Top of the Shop, visit www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b090vm

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