2010 Victorian of the
Stephanie Alexander is one of our country’s most renowned and acclaimed
chefs, a restaurateur, food writer and author who has excelled in her
dedication and pursuit of excellence promoting Australia’s Hospitality and
Tourism industries. She has always championed local good food producers
both in Australia and internationally on her menus, in published articles
and in her numerous books.
Stephanie is the author of twelve books, along with a six part ABC
television series in 1999 to accompany her book “A Shared Table’. Her
bestselling book ‘The Cook’s Companion” initially published in 1996 and
expanded in 2004 has sold in excess of 500,000 copies, becoming a ‘kitchen
bible’ for everyone from children to young adults, especially those who
become independent and leave home and have to learn how to cook for
themselves and utilize fresh food in their daily lives.
Further expanding her belief in children learning about food, Stephanie
developed a comprehensive gardening and cooking program in 2001 at the
Collingwood College in inner city Melbourne. This innovative project has
since seen hundreds of primary school children from grades three to six
assisting in developing and maintaining an extensive vegetable garden at the
school. Based on organics principles, the garden provides an opportunity
for children to participate in this form of gardening, understand
seasonality and follow the ‘paddock to plate’ philosophy by harvesting the
bountiful produce to prepare a wide array of culinary delights which they
share. These positive experiences provide a sound basis that will stand
them in good stead in later life in the way they think about eating habits.
‘Kitchen Garden Cooking for Kids’ which was a winner of the 2007 Le Cordon
Bleu World Food Media Awards further reinforces the success of the Kitchen
Garden at Collingwood College. It records the programme’s challenges and
milestones, offering guidance and practical advice to schools and
communities interested in establishing their own kitchen garden along with
more than one hundred recipes that have all been cooked by the students at
Collingwood in a format designed to encourage cooking with children either
at home or in the classroom.
success of the Collingwood College’s Program, the Stephanie Alexander
Kitchen Garden Foundation was set up in 2004 to raise funds for the
implementation of Kitchen Garden Program in other schools. Today there are
currently 139 schools across Australia participating in the programme with
this not for profit organization dedicated to spreading the word, by
teaching children in a pleasurable way, about growing, harvesting, preparing
and sharing food.