"Wolf-Tasker has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to tourism and hospitality and anointed a "Legend" by the Age Good Food Guide and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. On her Instagram bio , she describes herself as "Chef to the Lake House tribe - an international brigade of the most talented and passionate hospitality folk." That central Victorian tribe is now 100 strong. "It's quite a job," she says."
Read the full page article featured in The Age Epicure 23 April.
The Wheeler Centre - Debate
In March Alla Wolf-Tasker, Wendy Harmer and others debated the theory of: Our Food Obsession Has Gone Too Far.
We live in the foodie age – where celebrity chefs are the new rock stars. But while organic food is a must-have fashion accessory, obesity and food intolerances are on the rise.
But there are good things on the boil in the world of food, too – for instance, fair trade and carbon footprints are increasingly considered when making our food purchasing decisions.
Has our food obsession gone too far? Or can food become a vehicle to drive social change?
You can see the full debate on Wednesday 17th April on ABC1 as a part of the ABC Big Ideas Program. This will then be repeated on Sunday 21st April on ABCNEWS24 at 1pm.
What a sneaky start to the season it’s been! Rolling heat through most of March and then a quick plunge in temperature and some blessed rain - Mother Nature’s unexpected sleight of hand. There’s not been too many autumns where we’re still harvesting beautiful ripe tomatoes of every shape and colour and picking wild mushrooms in the local forests at the same time.
I’ve just been at our monthly farmer’s market and what a pleasure it is this time of year. Stalls bursting with zucchini, eggplant, peppers and pumpkins, herbs, salad leaves and plenty of tomatoes. Heirloom carrots and beets aplenty, eggs from happy hens and also beautiful varieties of live chooks as well. In our own gardens it’s pretty much the same. And with this week’s burst of warm weather I’ve decided to keep our green tomatoes on the vines for a bit longer. Bah Humbug! to any potential frosts. Although I have to say the green tomato pickles we’ve been producing are just delicious.
We’ve harvested nashis, crab apples and most of our quinces. Medlars remain ripening on the trees whilst we wait for the appropriate stage of almost complete mushiness .It’s the only way to produce a perfect rose coloured jelly. Our bee colonies at Lake House are still in full production mode. If you are staying with us you’re likely to find the fresh honeycomb offered at breakfast. You might also spot us coming in from the mushroom hut.
The family from Jonnai farms have just paid a visit. They’re fairly new local breeders of ethically raised big black pigs. We are using some of their product currently. The great news is that so can you, as they are doing Melbourne deliveries! Wait till you taste their bacon! www.jonaifarms.com.au/order/ The Jonai (as they call themselves) – Tammi, Stuart and three awesome kids will be having an open day on their farm as part of the Harvest festival as well. (see below). It should be a great day.
And if you are after any of the beaut vegetables mentioned above, another fairly new local supplier worth seeking out are Tony and Joanne at Four Season’s Harvest – on the Ballan /Daylesford Rd. If you’re heading back to Melbourne they have the hoop houses on the right hand side about 3 kms before you get to the Western Freeway. Pay them a visit. Needless to say you’ll find all this wonderful local abundance on our plates. As always we celebrate the hard work and dedication of small growers and producers with cooking that showcases their produce. I look forward to sharing some of this with you when you visit.
Meanwhile don’t forget to plant some garlic in your backyards for a November harvest! Single cloves, shoot side up, nice friable soil and please, not too much water!
Come and see us soon
Has our Food Obsession Gone to Far?
Listen to the debate on ABC Radio National.
We seem to live in a time where even the blandest offerings can be labelled Gourmet, what and where we eat is front and centre in popular culture, and food, and those who feed us have attained an almost revered status.
But despite being better informed about the food we eat, its ingredients and nutritional value, our food choices are often questionable and health outcomes are trending downwards.
So has our obsession with food gone too far? Or not far enough ?
Highlights of the Intelligence Squared debate, Melbourne Town Hall, 8th March 2013, presented by the Wheeler centre and the St James Ethics centreListen Here
Lunch with Alla - at Brooks Restaurant.
Read the interview by Andrew Stephens in The Age - here.
Note: Brooks' Head Chef - the lovely and talented Nic Poelart will join us for Autumn Masterclass at Lake House on Sunday 5th May. Book early.Lunch with Alla - Interview
And here it is at last – the season of abundance!
Mind you with temperatures yawing between 36°C and 16°C it’s got to be an endless challenge for our growers. Our own gardens’ new season crops bolted with the early heat. Post Cup Day frost tender plantings all doing well. The variety coming through our doors is simply remarkable. The usual early season snow peas, broad beans and chard are rapidly being replaced by zucchini, garlic, heirloom radishes, salad leaves and tomatoes of every shape and colour imaginable. Herbs fragrant in bloom and leaf, lend grace, colour and more importantly, depth of flavour to each plate. Fruit-set in the orchard looks promising as do the nearby wild apple and damson trees. Our bee colonies at Lake House are in full production mode. Maybe it’s their sterling pollination efforts that are encouraging the prolific fruiting. And you can expect our own honey with your breakfast anytime soon. We’re still foraging for wild nettles, dandelion leaves and fennel. But it’s the fragrant elderflowers that are stirring our creative juices in the kitchen, with elderberries to follow soon.
On our menus you’ll also find Mt Mercer pig, Skipton eel, pastured lamb and free range organic chicken from Gisborne; wild rabbit and fresh Meredith goat curd rich from lush grasses; vegetables and herbs from the foot of Mt Franklin; free range organic eggs from Myrniong and Lancefield; smallgoods from Musk, trout from Smeaton, teas from Maldon; and more from suppliers listed at the back of these pages.
We celebrate the hard work and dedication of these growers and producers with cooking that showcases their produce. Our dining room offers you, our guests, a place to talk, drink and share the pleasures of the table. No reverential hush, rather music and laughter. Fine dining with its top button undone.
We look forward to welcoming you to our summer table.
What's New? We're one of Tatler's 101 Best Hotels in the World!
Prestigious UK based Tatler magazine has included us in their annual list of the 101 Best Hotels in the World - the collation of which is, as they say, "no easy feat with so many fabulous places to choose from". This is truely the list to be included in.
When asked what makes a hotel right for the list? Travel editor Melinda Stevens, explains: "We... want to feel the love. This year, the guide celebrates the hotels that suck us in with the sheer force of their personality, that have us at hello."
Well ‘hello' Tatler - and thank you. Read the article here.
The Restaurant - Our Master Sommelier
There are 186 professionals worldwide who have received the title of Master Sommelier. Our very own Thomas Hogan passed the advanced exam of the Court of Master Sommelier. Pass rates at the exams held in the UK run at only 30%, but yes, our Tom did it, travelling to London last November. This means he will now be invited to sit the final Master Sommelier Exam in June of 2013. When you're next in, take time to have a chat with Tom, you'll be amazed at his extraordinary knowledge.
Book your table online