Chef Lilly Trewartha
by Stephanie Williams
Chef Lilly Trewartha has explored the world but loves nothing more than her home state’s produce.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up down the Channel in a little place called Gordon. I now live in West Hobart
Tell us a little about your work? I’m a local chef, currently based in Hobart. I work predominantly in restaurants but over the last few years I have focused more on events and pop ups. My cooking style is pretty diverse but I always focus on highlighting the amazing produce Tasmania has to offer.
Why did you become a chef? I grew up around food. Fishing with my dad or learning to cook with vegetables from my mum’s garden. Food and cooking has just always been a part of my life and I love it. I also saw the opportunity for travel and a career that has the potential to always be changing and evolving.
The Tassie and Hobart food scene has changed significantly in the past five or so years. Why do you think that is? What’s leading that? Food in Hobart has changed and developed so much from when I started cooking. Garagistes and Mona were absolute game changers and really started the ball rolling on putting Tassie on the map, I think it’s just been a flow on effect from that. Over the last five years there have been so many more incredible producers and suppliers starting to develop and grow down here which makes the food scene so exciting. It all starts with great produce!
What role did heading overseas play in your career? And returning? Heading overseas took my career into some beautiful and incredibly different experiences. Probably my favourite was living in the Arctic Circle training huskies and cooking under the northern lights. Ultimately heading overseas led me to London and Peg Restaurant, which became some of the most shaping career moments of my life. We cooked only over charcoal and it truly taught me how to cook with touch, I learnt how to work under pressure and think fast. Heading overseas taught me to grow and adapt in new environments and the importance of trying new things. Since returning I am able to now see the beauty in home. For so long I wanted to leave and I’m so happy I did, but there is something special about this island.
Who do you admire? Luke Burgess. He has been a hugely influential figure in my life since I worked for him at Garagistes when I was 18. I admire his views on a sustainable future for the food industry and his passion for sharing and teaching his knowledge. I am truly grateful for everything he taught me then and continues to teach me today.
What do you love doing outside work? I love just about anything to do with the water. Diving, fishing or taking my dog to the beach. At the start of lockdown two years ago I started ceramics, now I’m obsessed, kinda like my meditation. It’s weird for a chef but I actually do love cooking at home and having great dinner parties with friends.
What are you reading now? I’m currently reading Radical Candor by Kim Scott. It’s a management philosophy book based on Caring Personally while Challenging Directly.
What was your first job? My first job was washing dishes at Peppermint Bay. It taught me alot about hospitality and kitchens before I started cooking professionally and it’s where I first worked with David Moyle, who has supported me throughout my career and continues to 12 years later.
What are your daily news/social media habits? I usually check my Instagram in the morning over a cup of tea and keep up to date with multiple news platforms this way.
Your favourite place in Hobart for…
Breakfast: Hands down Sunbear. Always just so delicious, always what you feel like eating and the vibe is so relaxed.
Lunch: Hamlet. The menu is always changing and super tasty. It’s also a great social enterprise and gives so much back.
Dinner: Tom McHugos. It has got it all! Great local produce, awesome people and a delicious wine list.
Favourite team? I think I would be disowned if I did not say Richmond Tigers; an old family throwback.
Favourite Hobart secret? When the waters around Hobart light up with phosphorescence. It is truly beautiful.
What’s your favourite meal to prepare and eat for yourself? Hainanese chicken rice. Heaps of spring onion and ginger condiment, chilli oil and delicious greens. It’s my ultimate comfort food and it’s so easy to make, you always end up with left overs and a congee the next day.
What’s next for you? I’m actually in the process of figuring that out! I have just left my current role to step out and do something new that will allow me to grow and continue developing my professional self.
Parting words? Always say yes to the opportunities that come your way.
You can see Lilly in action this month at the ECHO Festival from 8 – 10 April.