About the Committee

ASCA Committee members contribute their time and expertise voluntarily. We are exceedingly fortunate to be guided by their diverse expertise from a range of artisanal cheesemaking and other professional backgrounds.

Executive Members

Carla Meurs - PRESIDENT

Carla, with her partner Ann-Marie Monda, is the creator and manager of Holy Goat Cheese, where she makes organic goat's cheese at Sutton Grange Organic Farm. Producing the highest quality farmhouse cheese with a commitment to the ethical treatment of animals and quality organic farming principles, Carla has made an exceptional contribution to both regional Victoria and the development of Australia's artisanal and farmhouse cheese industry. Holy Goat cheeses are widely recognised as Australia's best goat's cheeses, as the numerous awards they have won over many several years attest.

Carla is also an experienced project manager and educator from her many years spent in the education and training fields. She has been ASCA's President since late 2012.

paul wilson - vice president

 Paul, with his partner Kerry, owns and operates Nimbin Valley Dairy in northern NSW, a goat and cow dairy that processes its milk into a range of goat and cow, hard and soft cheeses, as well as goat milk ice cream. They also own and produce the Byron Bay Cheese Co. and Byron Bay Butter Co. brands.

Raised on a cow dairy and qualified in agricultural science, Paul worked as a consultant for many years in the cotton and citrus industries. In 2007 he won the Dairy Australia cheesemaking scholarship, which started his journey down the path to establishing Nimbin Valley Dairy.

Paul's scientific background allows him to bring to ASCA a deep understanding of the science that underlies cheesemaking, to help develop and drive programs to achieve the goal of making us all better cheesemakers.

 Paul has been ASCA's Vice President since late 2013, and is also the Technical and Education Officer.

Robin Freedman - treasurer

 Robin has had an extensive career in hospitality and wholesale distribution, in both an administrative and financial capacity.  Born in South Africa, Robin owned and operated an award-winning restaurant in Johannesburg and managed Mashatu Game Lodge in Botswana. After migrating to Australia he bought into Sydney-based wholesaler Australia on a Plate and, with Lynne Tietzel, created a distribution business that focused on specialty cheese and artisan products.  Currently, Robin works at Documentary Australia Foundation as their Financial Controller. 

An entrepreneur with a focus on strategic decision-making, Robin has a keen interest in cheese and the food industry in general.

Robin joined the ASCA Committee in late 2016.

alison lansley - secretary

 Alison is a non-executive director of various not-for-profit and government companies. She has a broad range of business, governance and legal skills gained over 30+ years, including 17 years as a partner of leading Australian law firm, Mallesons Stephen Jaques. She is currently a director of the National Broadband Network Corporation, Schools Connect Australia Limited, the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival and Melbourne Community Marketplace Limited, as well as Secretary of ASCA.

Alison is passionate about the quality end of the food industry, in particular cheese, and the agriculture and business activities that support it. She believes that far greater educational, financial, expertise and promotional support is needed for Australia's artisan cheese industry to thrive, and is determined to see ASCA play a major role in building this support.

Alison has been ASCA's Secretary since late 2012.

Committee members

Sonia Cousins - Membership OFFICER and Communications Officer

  Sonia has spent more than a decade in high-end specialty cheese retail, and now works as a cheese educator. Through her own business, Cheese the Day, she presents cheese appreciation events for the public, and cheese sensory workshops for industry professionals, across Australia. She is also a freelance writer and contributes cheese-related articles to various consumer and industry publications.

With a background in science and science communication, Sonia is able to combine her practical experience in the hospitality industry with a genuine desire to understand and articulate what makes cheese special. She is a nationally-accredited cheese judge with Dairy Australia and judges each year at the Sydney Royal Cheese Show, Royal Queensland Cheese Show, and the Australian Grand Dairy Awards, among others.

Sonia is a passionate advocate for small cheese producers, particularly in her home state of NSW. She first joined the ASCA Committee in late 2013.

ANNA PEREJMA - EVENTS Officer

 Anna is a cheese enthusiast with a corporate day job, qualifications and background in science/engineering, and experience in leadership roles with event work.

Anna is currently a Senior Manager in Financial Advisory in the Incentives and Innovation team at PwC in Sydney, where she assists businesses to access funding for innovate projects and business growth. She also has experience in leading teams in various volunteer positions such as team leader at Sydney Festival. Anna completed the TAFE SA practical cheesemaking course in 2009, as well as various informal cheese educational sessions.

Anna's goal is to actively contribute to the artisan cheese community by growing the ASCA presence and making great Australian cheese exciting and relevant to the everyday person.

Anna joined the ASCA Committee in late 2016.

HUGH NICHOLAS - FUNDRAISING & SPONSORSHIP OFFICER

 Hugh is cheesemonger and proprietor at Cheese etc., North Sydney. He has previously worked as International Communications Manager for JCD Consulting (Paris, France) and as Business Development Manager at Eastside Radio (Sydney), in which role he was responsible for membership, sponsorship and fundraising. In the past he has worked at the Queen Street Delicatessen and the Bourke Street Pantry in Sydney, and has owned and managed a café/music venue (Gothenburg, Sweden).

Over the last year he has been an active ASCA member, helping to organise STELLAS events in Sydney, as well as assisting with communications, membership and social media. Hugh joined the ASCA Committee in late 2015.

Paul Wilson - Technical & Education OFFICER

See profile above (Vice President)


State Representatives

KRIS LLOYD - SA

 Kris is manager and head cheesemaker of Woodside Cheese Wrights, a specialist cheesemaker of goat cow and buffalo cheeses, producing fresh, white mould and matured cheeses, based in the Adelaide Hills.

Kris established the South Australian Specialist Cheese Association (CheeseSA) to promote specialty cheese and introduce industry driven education and training programs in South Australia.

Kris is also the Director of CheeseFest Gourmet Cheese Festival and Chair of the Artisan Cheesemaking Academy Australia (ACMAA). She was the national winner of the 2010 Telstra Business Woman - Innovation Award.

Kris has been a member of the ASCA Committee since late 2012.

BARBARA MEURER - VIC

 Always passionate about cheese and dairy, Barbara was able to match this passion with her long and successful career as a biochemist. She joined the Australian dairy industry in 2005 as Director of the Australian Cheese Technology Program (ACTP), to help Australia’s bulk cheese producers to adopt new knowledge and technologies to increase productivity and grow product diversity. Later amalgamated into Dairy Innovation Australia (DIAL), Barbara led DIAL's innovation and research platforms. As the initiator of the Small Dairy Network in 2014, she engaged with over 50 small dairy manufacturers in Victoria through workshops and helped set up projects and grant support for many small and artisan dairy processors.  

Barbara has a broad science background with a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Cologne in Germany, and experience in dairy science and technology, plant biochemistry and plant science, bioactives and functional foods, pharmaceutical drug discovery and biotechnology. She also brings experience in business management involving business development and revenue generation, management of grant programs, communication strategies and materials, financial management, organisational change management, and she is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Barbara is keen to represent the State of Victoria on the ASCA Committee, and contribute professional networks and support services linking artisan cheesemakers to innovation resources in Australia and overseas.

Barbara joined the ASCA Committee in late 2016. 

Carmen Bateson - TAS

Carmen has been involved in the fabrication of farmhouse and artisan cheeses since 2008, when she began a five year stint working at the ever-evolving farm of Holy Goat. There, she was responsible for milking, making, maturing and taking product to market. During that time, she spend one and a half years in France in a similar role, in the production of a raw cow’s milk Tomme. In addition, she spent her weekend in Melbourne working for La Latteria in Carlton, selling and occasionally stretching fresh mozzarella.

Carmen was most recently the cheesemaker at Bruny Island Cheese Co in Tasmania. After an initial 6 months' work assisting production, she stepped into a senior role managing production. This role broadened and challenged her cheesemaking skills, giving her a great new insight into managing a larger production.

Carmen's experience has provided her with a sound understanding of the farmhouse and artisan cheese landscape in Australia. She is dedicated to growing this knowledge and fostering collaborative relationships within our industry, doing so with integrity and authenticity.

Carmen joined the ASCA Committee in late 2014.

MICHAEL MCNAMARA - NSW

 Michael, with his wife Cressida, owns and runs Pecora Dairy, where Michael is the head cheesemaker. Pecora Dairy is an artisan, farmhouse cheesemaking enterprise at Robertson, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, south of Sydney.

In addition to his cheesemaking, Michael brings to the role of Treasurer a thorough working knowledge of corporate structures and governance, cash-flow management and clear concise financial reporting, from his many years spent "before cheese" in the corporate world, where he worked as a general manager and then executive director with various medium to large sized businesses in the media and property industries.

Michael has been a member of the ASCA Committee since late 2012.