The Hobart

Michelle Crawford

by Stephanie Williams
Michelle Crawford

Working with some top brands and publications, food stylist, recipe writer and photographer Michelle Crawford proudly calls the Huon Valley home. This year she’s curating The Taste of Tasmania Culinary Program, featuring Tassie’s top gastronomy talent.

How did you get into the industry and to where you are today?
I’ve always loved food and been inspired by beautiful produce and the people who grow it. When I moved to Tasmania everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I meet some brilliant people who I was able to connect and collaborate with. We were all starting out in a sense, rocking up to markets at 6am to peddle our wares, growing food, curing bacon, baking cakes, you had to style and photograph your product to promote it, and work just blossomed from there. So being in the right place at the right time helped, that plus a lot of hard work.

What prompted your move to Tasmania?
We were living in Sydney’s inner west and wanted to quit the rat race for a slower pace of life. Friends living in Hobart invited us down for a weekend back in October 2004, and it was love at first sight. We raced back to Sydney, quit our jobs, packed up the house and six weeks later we were living here.

How has being in Tasmania shaped this latest part of your career?
Enormously! When my children were small I wrote a blog about our life in the Tasmanian countryside called Hugo and Elsa. I was so inspired by the surroundings in the Huon Valley and our new lifestyle. I shared stories about the challenges of growing your own food when you don’t know what you’re doing, the escapades of too many chickens, of badly made jam and the challenges of renovating an old farmhouse with no money, it really struck a chord with a lot of people and eventually led to a book deal with Random House. The stuff of dreams! This opened the door to so many incredible opportunities and I put it all down to living in Tasmania and being inspired by our wonderful lifestyle.

You’re part of the team producing The Taste of Tasmania. Can you tell us about the part of the program you’re putting together?
This year we’re launching the Culinary Program, a full roster of events featuring the stars of the Tasmanian food scene. Hobart is one of the hottest places to eat right now, there’s an energy to our dining scene unmatched by any other city in Australia. And while the Taste Festival has always had a strong tradition of connecting producers, winemakers and producers to the community, audiences are more sophisticated now, wanting to connect with the Tasmanian food story on a deeper level. The Culinary Program gives audiences the chance to get up close with chefs and producers in an intimate setting, from a cheese making workshop with Franklin’s Analiese Gregory, pasta making with Oskar and Federico from Fico, wine blending masterclasses with Jeremy Dineen from Josef Chromy, there’s almost 40 exclusive dining events, workshops and demonstrations. I’m really pleased that not only have we invited some of the leading lights of Tasmania’s culinary story, but also people who work behind the scenes, growers, producers and chefs doing delicious things, that you wouldn’t usually get to hear about.

Which program events are you looking forward to most?
So many! I’ll be at Matt Breen’s Cucina Provera class, Matt has so many authentic Italian dishes in store, you’ll feel like you’re snacking on the streets of Florence. But Dishing Up the Dirt is a favourite, three farmers who are chefs, Stan from Fat Carrot Farm in Oyster Cove, and Mike and Lauren Layfield from Felds Farm in Bagdad, these three grow the produce that you’ll find on the menu at some of Hobart’s finest restaurants, but they are also talented chefs in their own right, often throwing pop up dinners that sell out in minutes. I get so hungry when Mike describes the delicious feasts he cooks with Stan, so I thought the best way to get an invite is to put them in program. Franca Zingler from Port Cygnet Catering is an incredibly talented pastry chef who trained in Germany (Black Forest Cake anyone?) and worked for Adrian Zumbo in Sydney. Her fruity dessert demonstration, using all those luscious Tasmanian summer fruits like cherries, strawberries and raspberries will be another highlight.

You work at Fat Pig Farm near Cygnet with Matthew Evans as a cook and workshop teacher. What do you love about teaching?
It’s sounds cliché, but the connections you make with people. I love to talk about food, it’s my favourite topic ever, so getting to spend the day with people who love to eat, and who almost always have their own remarkable food stories to tell is such a pleasure.

What is your favourite season here?
I think the greatest discovery since moving to Tasmania is noticing the distinct rhythm of the four seasons, and when I first moved here my fave was definitely winter, because I do love hibernating and keeping cosy indoors, never far from a full teapot. But these days, I really love spring, all the flowers, the fresh green colours of the landscape and the birdsong.

And your favourite ingredients to work with?
Anything that’s straight from the garden that’s in season, right now it’s spring greens like asparagus and snow peas along with Meyer lemons and rhubarb. You can keep it simple when you pick produce straight from the garden, I like chargrilling asparagus on the bbq or sauteeing greens with young garlic and deliciously fruity olive oil from a farm down the road. The Meyer lemons are made into a bright tangy curd and the rhubarb goes straight onto rustic tarts served with thick kefir cream.

When in town where do you like to eat and drink?
I adore Ettie’s because I love casual snacky type foods served with a killer wine list, and I’ve shared some wonderful times there with friends. I also love Fico for their sublime pasta, and Templo, because they cook such simple rustic fare using stellar local produce, given a gentle Italian flourish.■

Love this

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Exploring Tassie These Winter School Holidays
We know that staying indoors with the family isn’t always fun. And while it’s obviously cold outside, you’re only a puffer jacket and beanie away from being comfortable and ready to explore. There’s lots of family fun to be had in all sorts of weird and wonderful places across the state these school holidays.
Sand Surfing on the Peninsula
The half-day walk to Crescent Beach in the Tasman National Park offers so much- including epic sand dunes for surfing and incredible views.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
January 2022

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!