I am now into my sixth year as owner of Torquay Farm Foods. It has been a pleasure looking after our customers and I hope it will continue for a long time. This year I will be a little more in the background of the business. You may see a little less of me and more of our dynamic duo Tim and Simone. The importance of welltrained staff such as ours struck me between the eyes recently.
After a hectic Christmas and New Year period, my wife and I decided to once again celebrate our wedding anniversary at the Lakehouse in Daylesford. This was about our 10th visit and I must say it is better than ever. The area had just had 60 millimetres of rain, so the gardens looked wonderful.
We were welcomed by owner Alla Wolf-Tasker and her team. They are always impeccably groomed and professional. During dinner on the first night, I couldn’t help but notice how one of the staff dealt with a problem.
The woman on the table next to us had requested her lamb well done. As the waiter was clearing he asked the obligatory question, “how was your meal?” The woman’s husband said they were disappointed the lamb was not cooked to their request.
Rather than ignore the feedback, the waiter apologised and informed the kitchen. In many Melbourne restaurants the chef may have been contemptuous and dismiss the complaint as the customer not knowing how lamb should be cooked.
The collective staff response was the complete antithesis.
They offered another meal and apologised profusely for the mix up. Eventually the couple accepted some complimentary wine and the issue was settled with the couple satisfied they had been listened to.
I thought it was a great example of professional service providing a solution to a problem in a swift and gracious manner. All of the staff at The Lakehouse are similarly trained.
The room service staff always have a smile on their face and the groundsman were beaming (although that may have had something to do with the recent rain).
The restaurant philosophy is to use seasonal and wherever possible, locally sourced produce.
Regional producers have been encouraged to supply produce with an open door policy where producers and growers have daily contact with the restaurant to enhance a local food culture.
It shows on the menu which is a testament to these relationships.
We took time to visit one such producer, our smallgoods supplier, the Jurcan family at Istra. Their smoking room is amazing, set among rolling pastures near Daylesford. The pigs are Western Plains bred free-range and produce beautiful bacon with just enough cure, not too salty, with a smokiness which great bacon should always have.
Their pancetta is full of flavour and in combination with the bacon makes a perfect carbonara. The authentic Italian recipe uses lots of oil and no cream. Over the years, I have found adding cream and reducing the sauce gives a less oily finish which I enjoy.
Nearly all of the ingredients below are from local producers available now from Torquay Farm Foods. Tim and Simone will be happy to look after you.
A pleasure to serve