The Wolf Tasker family and their team are constantly innovating and developing their celebrated boutique luxury hotel and restaurant. They recently launched their Dairy Flat Farm project. This is 38 acres of undulating pasture combining a restored vineyard, extensive olive grove, 5 acres of vegetable plantings, three hoop houses, a glass house and large barn, together with a 300 tree orchard. In November 2019 the ‘on farm’ Lodge accommodation of six serviced, delightful suites opened, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in some farm stay luxury, as well as enjoying activities the farm offers. Also launching, is an annual calendar of on farm open days, garden tours and workshops predominantly in gardening, sour dough baking and beekeeping.
One of the most exciting features of this new project from the Wolf Taskers is the collaboration between Alla and guru Australian baker Michael James (ex Tivoli Rd) in the development of an on-farm bake house. In a real meeting of minds, both Michael and Alla are convinced that as in many cases with food, it’s the industrialized production and the use of grains developed for yield and ease of storage and transportation, instead of flavor and health that are the issues, rather than the beautiful properly fermented and slow produced breads that used to be a daily feature of our lives.
Alla said, “It has long been a dream of mine to offer a larger variety of good bread for our guests at Lake House, but our busy kitchens were already operating to capacity. However, with the development of our nearby Dairy Flat Farm – we have taken our baking offsite. We’re baking a range of slow fermented sour dough breads as well as beautifully laminated croissants, viennoiserie, hot jam and custard donuts, breakfast buns and much other deliciousness, which will be available from Wombat Hill House.”
Asked why after all her achievements, she would take on a major new project, Alla said, “Provenance – where our food comes from – has been such a critical part of our ethos for over three decades, that the opportunity to extend that was just too good to miss. Besides this is a family project and more. Its not just me. “It takes a village” something I’m known to say often – is particularly relevant with Dairy Flat Farm. “ The Bake House is a collaboration between Alla and Michael James, we asked how it came about. Alla replied, “I became aware of Michael when he was setting up the Movida bakery in Melbourne. Then there was Tivoli Rd and eventually Michael’s eminently usable baking/cooking book of the same name. He particularly interested me as he was a chef first and is also a great teacher. I had this notion of upskilling my kitchen team in our bread production and also continuing to raise the bar with the quality and goodness of the baked products we offer at Lake House and Wombat Hill House. The property that has now become our Dairy Flat Farm came on the market and I had all kinds of notions whizzing about in my head. I paid Pippa and Michael a visit in Melbourne for a chat and it turned out they were selling Tivoli Rd and he was interested in getting involved in new projects… so, all serendipitous really”
In the world of hospitality and the region, Alla is acknowledged for her passion as a mentor and teacher, with many who have been under her tutelage benefiting in their careers. Asked if she found this role satisfying, she said, “Of all the things that I have achieved, I think the development of people in the industry comes a very close second or perhaps even an equal first to my greatest love, which of course is hospitality and bringing joy to people.” Never one to sit back on her Laurels, we had to ask what she had planned for the future and if there was another book in the pipeline? “There’s always another book in my head. And then there’s the Children’s Book that Allan and I have been trying to finish for decades. It was originally meant for Larissa our daughter, but now might be finished in time for our twin grandchildren to enjoy. There’s a lot of other stuff that has gotten in the way. Allan and I are not good at sitting around much ….
To learn more about the new bakehouse, the workshop dates and cooking classes visit lakehouse.com.au