Government of Western Australia Official Site


Oodles of udon noodles


Tress Walmsley, a trained agronomist who was appointed InterGrain chief executive in 2012 after working with the company since its inception in 2007, wants to encourage West Australians to follow the Japanese and Koreans by putting more udon noodles on their plate. In her role with InterGrain, Mrs Walmsley is charged with bringing new barley and wheat varieties to Australian grain growers, including noodle wheat, where the industry is valued at about $350 million annually.

Looking to go beyond the role of ensuring supply, to also stimulate and grow demand, Mrs Walmsley recently won a $10,000 grant to “start a food revolution” in udon noodles. The 2015 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award for Western Australia recognized her advocacy for rural industries and communities.

Her “Oodles of Noodles” project aims to encourage the consumption of udon noodles in the western world, starting at home with WA families. WA farmers grow most of the world’s supply of udon noodles, with InterGrain providing the main varieties, including the newly-released Zen and Supreme varieties.

 Ms Wellesley’s plan is to create “udon ambassadors”, starting with WA’s udon noodle growers and possibly a Perth food journalist. The five growers would participate in a MasterChef-type session, with professional chefs in Perth to become skilled in the art of cooking delicious and healthy recipes using udon noodles and gain a deep understanding of the industry. These ambassadors would then use the “Tupperware-party concept” to pass on their knowledge and passion to others, along the way generating social and media interest for udon as a healthy and delicious food trend.

“Therefore, more families will become exposed to their great attributes and know how to cook noodles in their homes,” she said. “This project will give me the opportunity to start a ripple, but a lot more work will be required before it became a full food revolution at a broader level.”