The hunt for an artisan cheesemaker for Adelaide’s Woodside Cheese Wrights is moving overseas, as Australian cheesemakers prove hard to find.

With only 14 specialist cheesemakers in South Australia, the short supply of skilled cheesemakers is posing an interesting challenge for recruitment marketing specialist, Employment Office.

Managing Director Tudor Marsden-Huggins says the company is now beginning the second stage of the recruitment drive, with plans to tempt New Zealand talent to Australian shores.

“In the current climate, the vast majority of our clients are receiving an overwhelming response from job seekers,” he said.

“Over 900 candidates applied for one Kitchen Attendant vacancy in Sydney, while a Brisbane-based position for pathology specimen collectors received 1,099 applications. Yet, finding a skilled cheesemaker is a little more tricky.”

Despite the distinct lack of cheesemakers, the initial recruitment drive attracted 38 applications from job seekers searching for an earthy lifestyle and, of course, a healthy remuneration of $75,000.

“A cheesemaker position conjures up rustic imagines of vineyards and woodsheds – it is an urban dweller’s dream and one that has generated a lot of interest from candidates ready for a career change,” Mr Marsden-Huggins said.

“But, Woodside has a reputation for creating a rich range of produce, from vine-wrapped goat’s cheese to ashed camembert, and so we’re searching for an exceptional candidate with a dollop of creative flair and experience in the traditional methods of cheesemaking”.

Kris Lloyd, Head Cheesemaker of the award-winning Woodside Cheese Wrights, says the national shortage of cheesemakers stems from the industry’s youth.

“The industry is really young, so when it comes to finding specialist cheesemakers, we’ve only got a couple of generations to choose from,” she said.

The emergence of Australian speciality cheese occurred in the 1950s, when cheddar’s control of the cheeseboard buckled under the creative flair of new boutique recipes.

Charleston, Feta and Gouda are now among the one hundred varieties of seasonal cheeses hand-crafted and matured across all six states.

However, as the industry continues to ripen, training opportunities for the next generation of budding cheese lovers are lacking.

While some European countries, such as Switzerland and Germany, have developed a six year dairy technology course that churns out master cheesemakers, Australian Agricultural Colleges only dabble in the cheesemaking basics.

As part of the Premiers Food Council, Kris Lloyd is currently working towards expanding the learning opportunities for those interested in the craft.

“If we’re going to grow the industry in Australia, we’ve really got to look at how we’re going to educate the next wave or how we might open up doors for cheesemakers from abroad,” she said.

The successful applicant will be based in the Adelaide Hills, where they will assist in the running of the production facility to produce 50 tonnes of cheese every year.


For media enquiries:

Tudor Marsden-Huggins on 0416 161 600

For further details regarding the Cheesemaker position, click here.


Media release – 01 May 2009

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