The Adelaide Hills Foodies Book Club
The Adelaide Hills Foodies Bookclub combines a passion for food with a passion for literature and
turns them into something wonderful.
The Foodies Book Club is the brainchild of renowned author of The Australian Blue Ribbon
Cookbook and Adelaide Hills local Liz Harfull, who got the idea from one of her friends who runs
a similar club in Brisbane.
Having the idea was one thing but making it happen was another, Liz said.
Basically the members of the book club read a book with a strong food theme, then we have a meal
inspired by the book while we talk about it.
I have known Beverly for years and I know she trains students at Heathfield High School in
cooking. I went to her asking if this was something the school might me interested in being a part of
and she thought it was a wonderful idea.
I wanted to choose books from wildly diverse cultures, but I also didnt want price to be an issue
that would prevent people from coming along. This also brings the community into the school and
broadens the experiences of the students. Its a match made in heaven!
The book club is currently in its fifth year and is as popular as ever with both readers and students.
Over the years, members have read everything from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol to Julie
Powells modern classic Julie and Julia tasting every one.
The group has sat down to many different meals over the years, Liz said.
We have not yet come up with a book, style, meal or menu that they havent been able to tackle,
and weve looked at some pretty adventurous things but the quality is always extraordinary.
We have tackled everything from Russian, rural Italian, French, Cajun, Chinese, Japanese -
everything. One of our most successful gatherings was when we recreated a Victorian England
The students have had to work hard in the book club kitchen. Their teacher Bev Millot is very proud
of how her students have improved over their time in her kitchen.
It has been a really amazing experience for them and they always rise to the challenge, Bev
Every month the students get to experience different food cultures. I dont even think you would
get to make that much variety if you were working in a restaurant.
What daunts them the most though is the fact that they have to speak about the food they have
prepared in front of the guests, but they know that those people arent challenging their knowledge.
Theyre genuinely interested in their passion for food and theyre always blown away at the
At the end of the year the students in Beverleys class receive a TAFE Certificate II in Kitchen
Operations which can lead them into an apprenticeship.
One of my students from a few years ago just won apprentice of the year, Beverley said.
The kids that are a part of it thank me at the end of the day, even though theyve done all the hard
work, they thank me for the opportunity.
One of those students, Year 11 student Magdalena Robinson, comes from a family of chefs and is
hoping to follow in their footsteps. She knows that she will be able to take the skills she has used
into the industry with her.
Its wonderful, Magdalena said.
It helped me a lot with my team work and being able to cope with pressure. Its really helped me
develop my skills both socially with the kitchen staff and in my cooking. I have learned a lot of new
techniques that will help me get further in the industry.
Its so nice to just talk about the food youve made with people who share that interest. I mean,
everybody enjoys food but not a lot of people love food.
Year 12 student Aaron Simpson is an old hand at with the Foodies Book Club, currently in his
second year in the class.
Its pretty cool, Aaron said.
Its a good experience to make food because we explore such diverse food cultures. The best thing
is probably the end result, hearing all the feedback and being a part of the club. I am hoping to
become an apprentice chef.
In September, the Foodies Book Club will be having a very special meeting and going back to
where it all began. The first book the group read five years ago was book Rose Petal Jam by Beata
Zatorska and Simon Target. Now, the group will be reading the much anticipated sequel Sugared
Orange in preparation for their meeting, where they will be joined by Beata and Simon in person.
We are flying the authors in from Sydney, Liz said.
The first book is about Beatas family in Poland and brings together recipes from the summer. We
all had these preconceptions about Polish food being heavy, but these recipes really surprised us. It
was definitely one of our most popular meals.
So instead of me taking the discussion, the authors will be leading the group which will be very
special. We are almost fully booked, and we also have a lot of people from the polish community in
Adelaide coming, so the response has been fabulous.
The dinner will be held on September 3 at Heathfield High School. For more information on the
Adelaide Hill's Foodies Book Club, call 0409 674 941.