There’s something remarkable about Tasmanian produce – local chef Lilly Trewartha has known this her entire life.
Since stepping into the commercial kitchen 12 years ago under renowned Tasmanian chef Luke Burgess, Trewartha has worked at esteemed eateries across the world. Nowadays, she cooks up quality cuisine for bespoke events and roams the island with her Japanese-inspired dining pop-up, Izakaya Temporary.
But Trewartha’s connection to food and place began long before her illustrious career. Hers was a childhood surrounded by beauty on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel in southern Tasmania.
I learned from a very young age where food came from, how to grow it, how to raise it.
“My mum was an amazing gardener; I’d go fishing with my dad.”
All this growing, cooking and preserving was shaped by the climate around her.
“The biggest thing for me down here is the quality of vegetables over other parts of the world,” Trewartha says.
You can see it in the producers, in the growers. They really, really care about what they do, and it translates into the food that they grow.
In truly Tasmanian fashion, Trewartha is good mates with her favourite growers, pub owners, and restaurateurs. The folks at Felds Farm (North Lilydale) and Broom and Brine (Allens Rivulet) provide her with veggies as fresh as they come – while Lyndell Lamb (Hamilton), Tas Live Abalone (Mornington), and Tasmanian Oyster Co (island-wide) are some of her most beloved ethical meat and seafood producers.
Cheffing aside, Trewartha forages for native herbs and wild produce in her spare time – nourishing herself with saltbush, sea lettuce, purslane, wattle blossom and kunzea.
“I go diving a lot for scallops, abalone, crayfish, all for my personal use,” she says, “there [are] so many things that you can use around you.”
And when it’s someone else’s turn to take care of the cooking, Trewartha turns her attention to Hobart’s eateries. You might find her grabbing a herb-laden breakfast at Sunbear – a homely cafe offering seasonal small plates – or enjoying a feel-good brunch of flatbreads, pies, soups or omelettes at Hamlet Cafe, a non-profit charity training and employing people with disabilities.
“My favourite lunch and probably my favourite restaurant in Tasmania is hands down the Agrarian Kitchen,” Trewartha says of the New Norfolk eatery, “the food they cook is second to none. They’re also just some of the nicest people.”
Further afield, Trewartha recommends stopping by the Waterloo Inn on the east coast for scrumptious Sunday lunches of farm-to-table meats.
“It’s right by the seaside in Swansea," she says, “it’s like a home away from home.”
And there’s plenty more where that came from in Launceston: Tasmania’s UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
“Pachinko is really, really great – Johnny and the team do an exceptional job of Japanese,” Trewartha says.
“And Stillwater: I ate there recently for the first time and I wish I’d gone there earlier."
If you need a further example of Tasmania’s lush harvest in action, just peek at the menu for Trewartha’s recent Dark Sky Dinner: a scientific and cultural gathering during Beaker Street Festival (every August) hosted beneath the stars at sustainable east-coast venue Spring Bay Mill.
“It’s a beautiful setting, it’s quite calm and tranquil,” Trewartha says.
The evening begins with crunchy candlelit entrees, including shiso pickled daikon and turmeric pickled cauliflower.
“It’s a very Japanese thing to start with pickles,” Trewartha says, “it kind of opens up the palate and gets ready for what’s coming next.”
Next comes rich braised wallaby shank and walnut miso, with fresh wasabi rocket and silver beet from Spring Bay Mill’s onsite garden, drenched in a delicate sesame and honey dressing. Alongside it is a stack of fluffy pink eye potatoes, streaked with earthy hemp cream and spring onion oil.
And for dessert: a decadent combination of velvety kunzea cream, kinako (a nutty golden soybean flower), and roasted apple (this is the ‘Apple Isle’, after all).
Tasmanian produce for me, it's always been part of who I am, how I've grown up.
“I think it's always going to be home. If I can still be doing this in 10 years, I’ll be happy.”
Where to eat in Tasmania FAQs
Where to eat in Hobart
The real question is this: where shouldn’t you eat in Hobart? Tasmania’s waterside capital has excellent eats galore. Pop into a cosy wine bar for some experimental small plates; feast on farm-to-table cuisine with friends; slip into a backstreet cafe for a delicious coffee; or discover your new street-eats obsession at a multicultural market. Here’s where to eat in Hobart.
Where to eat in Richmond
From lush vineyards to boutique distilleries and indulgent cheeseries, the photogenic town of Richmond in southern Tasmania is stacked with good things to eat and drink. While you’re there, bring the family: this town has kid-friendly activities and experiences galore. Here’s where to eat in Richmond (and what to do between feeds in this historical village).
What food is Tasmania famous for?
A trip around Tasmania is a journey through rich flavours and fresh produce. The island has famously been nicknamed ‘the Apple Isle’ for its fertile fruit-growing tradition in the south (cider, anyone?), while the volcanic north-west soils have produced top-notch truffles. Throw in some salmon, abalone and rock lobster from the pristine Tasmanian waters, some world-class whisky and wine, and a drizzle of unique leatherwood honey, and you’ve got yourself a banquet. Discover more famous Tasmanian food on the tasting trail.