AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATION OF FOOD PROFESSIONALS INC.
This is a Sydney-based association of culinary communicators, including cookbook authors, cooking teachers, radio and television presenters, food stylists, nutritionists, brand consultants, marketers and importers, brought together through workshops, newsletters and dinners. Well-known members have included Margaret Fulton, Lyndey Milan and Ian (‘Herbie’) Hemphill.
Officially launched at the Sydney Opera House on 24 May 1982, the Food Media Club Australia was instigated by Courtney Clark, who discovered the need for a network when employed by NSW Agriculture Minister Jack Hallam on the ‘Fresh is Best’ campaign. The first elected president was Bernard King, whose flamboyant promotion of cooking and associated products was already an ‘industry’ in itself.
In 1995, the club’s most public activity became the biennial, sponsored Australian Food Media Awards, an idea brought back from New Zealand by industry home economist and broadcaster Barbara Lowery. Winners comprise a ‘who’s who’ of culinary celebrities, including Matt Preston, who won the Australian Mushroom Growers’ Award for Best Food Article in 2004. The Melbourne Age ’s‘Epicure’ won the 2008 Nuts for Life Award for Best Food Section in a Metropolitan Newspaper. Originally named the Australian Food Writers’ Awards, they soon faced competition from the World Food Media Awards, started in 1997 in Adelaide as part of Ian Parmenter’s biennial Tasting Australia event.
Following a postal ballot at the end of 2009, the club was renamed the Australian Association of Food Professionals Inc. President Stewart White advocated a more inclusive name for ‘nutritionists, home economists, producers, marketers’.
Serious food journalists might privately scoff at the ‘PR and Nutritionists Club’, the members of which often combine publicist and reporting roles, and organise junkets for one another. Peter Howard recalls being asked to stand for president by Barbara Lowery on a familiarisation trip in Cordoba for Spanish olive oil. However, a shared passion for gourmet dining and travel makes members susceptible both to such blandishments and to peer pressure towards higher gastronomic standards.
REFs: http://www.foodprofessionals.org.au; personal contacts (including Courtney Clark, Peter Howard, Barbara Lowery and Lyndey Milan).