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Session 8

Place-Based Aesthetics 

16 July 2020

Do food cultures define a place or the other way around?

Session 8 Place- Based Aesthetics: Speakers

Amy Colli

Uncovering the Challenges of Local Produce & Food Tourism Experiences

in Pursuit of Developing a Culinary Destination

How do consumer expectations determine what is placed on a menu? Can our perception of a region influence what we’re willing to pay for a meal? How invested are consumers in knowing where their food comes from and are they willing to pay more for local produce? Is sourcing local produce a myth for chefs? How important is it that provenance be maintained on menus?

The Tweed shire produces a wide variety of farm fresh produce. However, there are challenges and limitations in the distribution of this produce to local restaurants.

On the demand-side of food tourism, the literature shows that there is a strong connection between local produce and the image of a destination known for its food.

The desire of consumers to seek local food experiences can enable a region to develop its reputation as a food tourism destination. Part of the value of this research has been to gain a greater understanding of the challenges faced by both farmers and chefs in the pursuit of food tourism experiences for the Tweed shire.

Amy Colli is the Industry Development Manager at Destination Tweed: 2050 Collective, a membership-based industry body specialising in food tourism industry development for the Tweed shire.

Amy’s career spans 25years in food, wine, events, education and industry development in regional areas. She has organised local food festivals, industry networking events, and is an advocate for local producers. She is dedicated to connecting farmers, food producers and chefs to improve connectivity within local food system networks. 

Amy has delivered agritourism programs and resources (for example, ‘Byron Region Food: A Northern Rivers Food & Beverage’ handbook) for local government, assisted local farmers to diversify and connected tourism operators with local food activation opportunities.

She is a frequent MC and committee member of industry organisations such as Northern Rivers Food, seasonal events such as Greet Your Growers and the biennial Symposium of Australian Gastronomy. She has experience in food writing, food tourism tours and restaurant judging. 

Prior roles with Southern Cross University and TAFE NSW (Wine & Food Technology Centre) involved the organisation and hosting of domestic and international study tours, and industry engagement. She has experience in training roles within the wine industry, hospitality and founded her experience in restaurants and resorts. 

In 2019, Amy completed a Master of Gastronomic Tourism (Le Cordon Bleu/Southern Cross University).

Video Available 16 July

Alex Tran

“As mom’s cooking”: the taste of home and the formation of Vietnamese identity

In recent years, “as mom’s cooking” has become a popular term used widely in Vietnamese communities in Vietnam and elsewhere when talking about home-cooked food. The term has been used as a magical word in marketing and food writing in different senses to evoke people’s nostalgia in order to sell their products. It is also used as a confirmation of how true/correct a thing or statement is in informal daily oral and written context. Within this context of language, literal food related or not, the mother figure and her food have been exploited extremely well to perform a heavily socio-cultural gendered duty which happens to become the aesthetic of food, eating, knowledge, and all other life’s matters to the Vietnamese. In this paper, I explore the way in which this term has been used in Vietnamese popular culture, food related subject and beyond, in forming and expressing Vietnamese’s identity, where everything must be “as mom’s cooking”.

Alex Xuân-Bách Trần was born and raised in Vietnam and now is working in Auckland, New Zealand as a professional chef, an author in Vietnamese, and an academic in gastronomy. He received his industrial training at Swinburne University and his bachelor's degree in culinary management at William Angliss Institute (both in Australia) before moving to Auckland to pursue a Master of Gastronomy at Auckland University of Technology. His master’s dissertation explores the complexity of Japanese food and male-homosexuality in Japanese manga, which has earned him a first-class honoured degree and Dean’s list award in 2018. Currently, he is back in the professional kitchen while also a regular guest lecturer at AUT. 


During his short return to Vietnam during 2014-2016, he had worked across industries on food and culture-related projects. He also published his two cookbooks in 2014 and 2015 and is working towards another one in the near future. He is currently seeking opportunity to continue his study at Doctoral level. 


Alex’s research interests include food, gender, popular culture, society, Vietnam, and Vietnamese immigrant communities. He can be reached at

View Paper — AVAILABLE 16 JULY
Bendigo vegetable growing vision-1.jpeg

Jennifer Alden

Edible Bendigo - Reclaiming Foodscapes and their role in the Future of Gastronomy

The challenges of environmental and climate breakdown have broader impacts on our food system and health. An opportunity exists to identify ways to better align ecology and health via re-linking food to our landscapes and also to provide an aesthetic impact.

UNESCO contributes to gastronomy heritage and the universal value of cultural landscapes, including foodscapes, by promoting gastronomy as a category of the Network of Creative Cities.

This includes making creativity a lever for urban development and developing new solutions to tackle common challenges.

Gastronomic aspects of aesthetic experience can expand the notion of foodscapes beyond culinary frameworks to include productive sustainable landscapes.

A new approach to ‘foodscapes’, via creation of edible landscapes in public places, can reverse the community disconnect that has occurred with food growing, increasing awareness of and participation in food production. Redesigning streetscapes and aesthetic edible precincts creates more resilient and environmentally sound food systems. 

As Australia’s newly and only designated UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, Bendigo’s focus includes creative approaches to tackling the challenges of climate change, in the process ensuring fair access to health and wellbeing via a focus on sustainable local food systems.

Our gastronomy story is about innovating and adapting to new landscapes, while learning from our Dja Dja Wurrung heritage, to celebrate environmental aesthetics by new approaches to growing, sourcing, cooking and sharing food in the community. Our foodscapes represent our culture and provide a fundamental focus for gastronomy of the future.

Jennifer is a consultant with three decades experience working to improve health and wellbeing in the community. She is a City of Greater Bendigo Councillor for Lockwood ward and was Deputy Mayor in 2017/18. She has a Doctorate of Public Health with a special interest in agenda setting and food policy, a Masters in Women’s Health and an Honours degree in Science, plus a Diploma of Natural Therapies, is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne. A former board member of Bendigo FoodShare, she is chair of the Bendigo Regional Food Alliance and a member of the Public Health Association of Australia. In 2002 her book Liberated Eating was published. Her most recent role was as CEO of urban agriculture not for profit, Cultivating Community. She has undertaken consultancies for local government in the past and organised the inaugural Australian Community Food Hubs conference. Her work on Council has included working for food policy that supports health, environmental and social outcomes, localising our food system and supporting widespread establishment of community gardens and food hubs. She has a long standing interest in global food security, sustainable food systems and eating well. In 2018 she was awarded the Municipal Association of Victoria’s McArthur travelling fellowship for international local government research, travelling to Italy to research Creative Cities of Gastronomy. This assisted the successful designation of Bendigo in 2019 as Australia’s first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

View Paper — AVAILABLE 16 JULY

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