Meet The Culinary Tastemakers Championing Tasmanian Produce
Meet the passionate advocates and entrepreneurs who deal in flavours of the wild and tastes of terroir with the finest produce the earth and sea can offer.
September 19, 2022
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Tasmania, with its perfectly calibrated natural conditions for turning out brilliant produce, is a paradise for foodies, attracting some of Australia's best and brightest. The locals know it and it calls acclaimed chefs and writers to up sticks and chase their flavour bliss in the rugged south.
We've got five tastemakers of the Tasmanian food industry that you should keep an eye on. Passionate advocates and entrepreneurs, their food spans north to south, from flavours of the wild to tastes of terroir and the finest produce the earth and sea can offer.
Whether they're homegrown Tasmanian talent or keen mainland foodies who uprooted for a more delicious life, they all share a love for this land and all it produces. We've partnered with Tourism Tasmania to find out what inspires their culinary creations, and captures their hearts — and tastebuds.
"Keep it fresh, use the best ingredients and let the produce be the hero." It's a recipe for success and it has served Massimo Mele well.
Tasmanian-born Massimo has cheffed his way through restaurants in the US, London and Italy. But he found his home turf was the best place on earth to make the most of this ethos.
As Food Director at Grain of Silos in Launceston, he's created a fine dining experience that shows off rustic roots, from refined riffs on wholesome classics to naming local producers. As Culinary Director at Peppina, Mele's flagship restaurant at Hobart's famous Salamanca Place, he can offer 'Italian the Tasmanian way', staying true to core principles of seasonal, local and Nonna-inspired. That means championing artisans, handpicked produce, small-batch, single-vineyard wines, and the home comfort of a porchetta roast and tiramisu — all made for enjoying with others.
Did you hear? Launceston is an official UNESCO City of Gastronomy. And culinary industry overachievers like Kim Seagram are one good reason why.
Her passion has helped launch a multitude of exciting hospitality endeavours. One example is Black Cow Bistro, which serves up "Tasmania on a Plate" in its Launceston home. Black Cow's culinary approach is centred on the sacred power of the cow as a symbol of nourishment, abundance… and flavour. She is the co-founder of Launceston's Harvest Market and is also the Chair of Fermentasmania.
Stillwater, the luxury accommodation and restaurant offering that was developed with the help of Kim's talent and expertise, has an unparalleled location — sitting right beside Cataract Gorge. With water sourced from Cape Grim, food from passionate local producers, sustainably harvested seafood and character-filled rooms filled with Tassie products, it's a true immersion. Finally, there's Abel Gin — Seagram's collaboration with distiller Natalie Fryar, capturing the tastes of the Tasmanian wilderness.
And that's why we referred to her as a culinary overachiever.
Influenced by his dad's seafood cooking, his grandmother's passion for great ingredients and his home in the unique landscape of Tasmania's north west coast, Ben Milbourne's life as a professional foodie was inevitable. He's grown up on some of the best produce in his own backyard. After his success on season four of MasterChef Australia, he continues his commitment to celebrating the people who farm, fish and make the incredible ingredients he has been lucky enough to have access to.
His TV series Left Off The Map showcases the best of the best in Tassie, a grand tour every locavore should take notes from. Where to eat, where to stay — a true foodie's guide to exploring Tasmania. Plus he has recipes to do that produce justice. Fact is, travelling in Tasmania gives you access to the kind of ingredients chefs go absolutely wild for. Why not try it out, if you have the chance to cook with the best?
What drives an acclaimed young chef from Michelin star restaurants of Paris and Sydney to leave it all behind with a dramatic tree change? The call of idyllic cottage life in one of the finest food and vino regions in the world.
Analiese Gregory wrote her book, How Wild Things Are, to share her knowledge of farming, fishing, hunting, foraging and sourcing food from the farms and wilderness of Tasmania, and — of course — how to cook it beautifully. If you've watched her SBS series A Girl's Guide To Hunting, Fishing and Wild Cooking… you'll already know some of her favourite small-batch, local growers and makers of Tasmania. And if you're lucky, you might find her making culinary magic with this produce at events and pop-ups when you visit.
Champion of sustainability, regeneration and learning farming by trial and error (and now great success), Matthew Evans is a writer, cook and farmer. Evans, together with his partner in life and in business, Sadie Chrestman, established Fat Pig Farm in the beautiful Huon Valley. He thinks Tasmanian producers are worth making noise about, and he's published numerous books on food, farming and even good soil.
You can follow his journey from food critic to food producer on SBS series Gourmet Farmer, where he shares the spotlight with many local mates and collaborators, including Nick Haddow of Bruny Island Cheese and Glen Huon Dairy Farm.
Sign up for a workshop in sustainable farming skills or try the food for yourself at a Fat Pig Farm Feast, a long afternoon celebration of sharing seasonal produce sourced as much from the farm as possible, with matched drinks and a guided tour, so you can see exactly where it all comes from. It doesn't get more farm-to-table than this ultra-locavore experience.
Ready to plan a trip for your tastebuds around Tasmania? To discover more of what the island state has to offer, visit the website.
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