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Food sustainability takes chef to France

Natassja Hoogstad Hay

“I believe the future of our environment, economy and industry is now and that as young people it is our responsibility to make a difference.”

Sustainability and food are best friends these days, popping up together on menus and in foodie discussions everywhere. It’s no surprise though, as we look to minimise our impact on the environment in all parts of our lives.

A conference in France is bringing together young people from different industries all over the world to figure out how they can improve the world’s urban food systems. Joining the group is Canberra chef, 21-year-old Georgia Harrison.

Georgia, whose passion for food comes from many hours spent in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother growing up, started her training at the age of 16 while she was still finishing high school.

Now Senior Sous Chef at the National Press Club, with a string of awards already under her belt, Georgia’s scholarship to the Eating City Summer Campus 2015 in August is another well-deserved feather in her cap, and a chance for her to explore a different side to food.

Georgia says she was “incredibly interested” after reading about the conference after someone recommended it to her. The food industry and sustainability, she says, go hand in hand.

“I believe the future of our environment, economy and industry is now and that as young people it is our responsibility to make a difference,” says Georgia.

“The food service industry is my passion, so making sure it is sustainable for the future is incredibly important to me.”

The conference brings together young people aged 22-28 from all over the world (don’t worry, Georgia turns 22 at the end of this month) working in sectors that are involved in food or cities.

Held for the third time this year, attending will be chefs, farmers, students in environmental sciences, food sciences, nutrition, urban planning, economy, communication – anyone who shares a deep interest for better food systems.

The idea behind bringing this diverse crowd together is to create lasting networks, and define real solutions that the participants can put into practice in their careers and to help their communities.

The 35 people chosen for the course will spend 10 days of the French summer at ‘la Bergerie de Villarceaux’, a 600-acre property fully dedicated to sustainable development just outside of Paris.

Georgia is looking forward to hearing all sorts of different perspectives from the other young people coming to the conference.

“I hope to learn as much as possible from them and from the workshops we will attend during the scholarship program together. I aim to bring back the information and skills I will acquire from the conference and apply them to my career.”

As a chef classically trained in fine dining, of course she’s excited to experience all that French food has to offer.

“I adore French food. Serve me pastries, cheese and champagne any day!” she jokes.

As a career-focussed woman, though, she plans to soak in the French flavours and cooking styles and bring them back to her kitchen in Canberra.

“The established depth of flavour, skill and technique that goes in to French cuisine is nothing short of spectacular. I hope to indulge my senses during my time in France and possibly bring some more French influence in to my own cooking style.”

If the other young people taking part are every bit as passionate and dedicated as Georgia, the possibilities for the future of food are endless.


Natassja Hoogstad Hay

Natassja Hoogstad Hay is a communications professional working in Canberra. An unashamed foodie, she loves cooking and going out to eat, and has a special love of coffee and wine. She’s obsessed with social media (handy in her field!) and is working on perfecting her Instagram game. In her spare time you might find her at a yoga class, cosied up on the couch with a book or the TV, or outside taking photos of beautiful Canberra sunsets. More about the Author