#Stronger Together

Rijk Zwaan likes to join forces with other parties to make our courses even better.

University of Newcastle

The University of Newcastle in NSW. Australia, has delivered superior education and world class research since 1965. Ranked in the top 200 of the world's universities, UoN is a global leader, distinguished by a commitment to equity and excellence. Together with Rijk Zwaan, they developed the Culinary Nutrition Course.

By working with industry, community and government partners, they translate new knowledge into innovations that make a real difference – to communities, our economy and our planet. 
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Rijk Zwaan

Rijk Zwaan (pronounced ‘rake zwarn’) is a family-owned vegetable seed breeding company founded in The Netherlands in 1924 by Mr Rijk Zwaan. Our story is about respect for nature, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and driving change. 
Rijk Zwaan Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary on Rijk Zwaan, founded in Daylesford, Victoria, in 1987. In Australia, we focus on
  • Vegetable seed sales
  • Research and development; and
  • Seed production.
Working with growers, retailers and processing companies, we drive the development of vegetables, product lines and concepts aligned to market needs. In addition, we collaborate with research institutes and universities and other partners to increase vegetable consumption in Australia. 
Our team

Meet the Culinary Nutrition team

Roberta Asher
Senior product manager
Roberta Asher is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), PhD candidate and Research Assistant at The University of Newcastle.
Ms Asher completed a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 after a 10-year career as a trade qualified chef working in restaurant and international hotel kitchens in Australia and overseas. She has worked as a clinical dietitian, a community culinary nutrition educator and research assistant. In 2019 Ms Asher commenced her PhD at the University of Newcastle researching cooking skill development and nutrition education for people with disability using co-design methods.
Ms Asher’s research work focusses on programs that aim to improve diet quality, health and wellbeing through cooking and food skill development. Working in a multidisciplinary collaboration, she has also developed resources that can be used by other culinary education program developers, across a range of settings and target groups, to guide program planning, curriculum development and evaluation.
Clare Collins
Laureate Professor Clare Collins is a Fellow of Dietitians Australia, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and Nutrition Society of Australia. 

L/Professor Collins hold an NHMRC level 3 leadership Research fellowship (2022-26) and has published over 450 publications and supervised over 35 Higher Degree Research candidates to completion. L/Prof Collins research focusses on personalised nutrition technologies and programs evaluating impact on diet-related health across life stages and chronic disease. 

L/Professor Collins is a sought after nutrition science media commentator and the most read Australian author on The Conversation with >12 million readers globally. She co-created the EdX Massive Open Online Course, The Science of Weight Loss - Dispelling Diet Myths, completed by >63,000 people across 180 countries. 
Dr Tamara Bucher
Dr Bucher is a Food and Consumer Behaviour researcher at the University of Newcastle. She is the Head of Discipline Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Academic Convenor of the Doctoral Training Centre in Food & Agribusiness.

Dr Bucher holds a Bachelor and Master in Biochemistry and a Master of Advanced Studies in Human Nutrition and Health from ETH Zurich (ETHZ), Switzerland. In her PhD, she developed and validated an innovative method for consumer behaviour research using ‘fake foods’. In 2014, Dr Bucher joined the University of Newcastle (UoN) Priority Research Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition (PRCPAN) with a Swiss National Science Fellowship.

She and her team are investigating ambient influences on food choice and how we can use this knowledge to facilitate healthy choice and eating. She is also very interested in wine research with a focus on alcohol reduction and use of new technology.

Vanessa Shrewsbury
Dr Vanessa Shrewsbury (PhD, BHlthSc Nutr&Diet Hons) is a dietitian and a postdoctoral researcher at the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at The University of Newcastle, Australia. Her current research focuses on improving the dietary quality of children, adolescents and their families through increasing access to evidence-based resources, including programs to improve food and cooking skills. Previously Dr Shrewsbury was a research dietitian at University College London, the University of Sydney and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Australia, where she has worked on longitudinal cohort studies, randomised controlled trials and numerous systematic reviews on child and family nutrition. She has >40 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has contributed to the development of awarding winning programs that have been adopted internationally including Weight4KIDs and the Students As LifeStyle Activists (SALSA) Program. Full profile available:  . 
Frances Tolson
 Frances Tolson is the New Product Development Manager with Rijk Zwaan Australia focussing on retail and trade activities.
As a self-confessed vegetable enthusiast with >40 years experience in the vegetable industry, Ms Tolson completed her Bachelor of Business (Agricultural Commerce & Agricultural International Studies) in 2008 (USYD) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Directors.
Growing up in a vegetable-farming family, she was a founding member of one of Australia’s largest commercial vegetable seedling nurseries that grew plants for commercial applications nationally. She also owned and operated a hydroponic lettuce farm and co-created a vegetable export consortium.
Full profile:
James Bertram
James Bertram has worked in the fresh vegetable industry for more than 25 years, with experience in the New Zealand, the UK, Europe, and Australia.He has worked in various countries for Rijk Zwaan as both an Account Manager and Crop Specialist since 2008.
In this dual role at Rijk Zwaan, James currently looks after customers in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, and supports plant propagators and the high tech greenhouse cropping industry in the Oceania region. These roles give James an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with stakeholders across all levels of the fresh food supply chain, more or less from seed to fork: breeders, growers, market traders, retail buyers, independent grocers and consumers.
The Culinary Nutrition Course has provided an opportunity to combine James ' love of cooking and an intimate knowledge of plant anatomy to help try and dispel some of the myths and mysteries of cooking and enjoying fresh vegetables.