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'We had chefs that didn’t realise beetroot grew underground’

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She’s already helped change the face of regional dining in Australia – now Lake House owner and executive chef Alla Wolf-Tasker has her sights set on revolutionising food education.

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Wolf-Tasker’s new “burning ambition” – and a project she tells The Message Pod‘s Nicole Haack she hopes will become a key part of her culinary legacy – is to develop an Institute of Gastronomy for the Daylesford region of Victoria where her highly regarded Lake House restaurant is located.

“That’s all about immersing potential culinary students in a region that has many, many regenerative farms on it so there’s a real connection right through the supply chain,” she says.

Wolf-Tasker believes a fresh approach is needed to teaching culinary skills and knowledge, arguing that the things which interest Millennials are not part of current TAFE courses and that there is a big gap between the skills taught and the way the food industry is promoted.

“In food service in the moment in the cities, in a lot of restaurants, things arrive in pouches, pre-filleted, pre-diced … we had chefs in the kitchen that didn’t realise beetroot grew underground, young chefs …. it’s a big disconnect.

“So if you want those people to become great cooks, they have to understand the produce and meet the people [who produce it] – it’s linking the chain.”

Wolf-Tasker, a strong supporter of small-scale regional farmers and producers, also believes consumers need to ask more questions about food production processes, and argues that the globalisation of food has come at a high cost.

“I think we sold our souls with the globalisation of food – I’m not convinced that the benefits outweigh the bad things that have happened.

“We were told it had to happen to feed the world but I don’t believe that any more. Food is used as a commodity in futures … farmers have lost out totally.”

Listen below to Wolf-Tasker’s full interview with Haack, in which she also talks about her migrant parents and early food memories, the things that drive her inexhaustible passion for the industry, and her other hopes for the future.

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