Rodney Dunn grew up on a farm in rural NSW and was an apprentice under Tetsuya Wakuda at Sydney restaurant Tetsuya's, before moving into food media.
In 2007 he and his wife Severine opened The Agrarian Kitchen, a farm-based cooking school in Tasmania's Derwent Valley. In 2013 Dunn published his first cookbook, The Agrarian Kitchen. His second, The Truffle Cookbook, (Lantern, $59.99) is out now. See www.theagrariankitchen.com.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE TABLE IN HOBART ?
I always love a meal at Franklin. It's a wonderful space in an old newspaper printing press room. Centre stage is a modern-day, wood-fired scotch oven, but none of this upstages David Moyle's food. He has a touch that takes an exceptional local product, applies his own twist and somehow makes it even better. His wood roasted abalone is an absolute must, it melts in the mouth. See www.franklinhobart.com.au.
THE LOCAL FOOD DISCOVERY OF THE PAST YEAR?
There is a new pint sized Italian-inspired neighbourhood restaurant called Templo. It has only about 20 seats and each of those is hotly contested. The menu is only about eight or so items but the best way to eat is the chef's menu, a smaller serving of each. Chef Matt Breen knows how to wring ever bit of flavour from his ingredients, which leaves you licking every last morsel from your plate. See www.templo.com.au.
WHAT IS HOBART'S BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET?
The local Farm Gate Sunday farmers' market is a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Most tourists go to Salamanca on Saturday, which is great, but if they are available on Sunday they should head down to Bathurst Street and check out the local producers and sort themselves out with some food for an afternoon picnic. See www.farmgatemarket.com.au.
PLACE TO GO ON A DAY OFF?
We love to sort ourselves out with a picnic and head up the Derwent River and find a great spot to watch the river flow by. In autumn it is particularly beautiful as all the deciduous trees change colour.
FAVOURITE INDULGENCE IN HOBART?
Something sweet at Sweet Envy, run by ex-Gordon Ramsay alumni and Tassie expat Alistair Wise and wife Teena. This little cake shop, to use Alistair's modest words, punches above its weight in terms of all things sugar. Try Alistair's superb ice-cream made from local fruits and nuts, which are usually bartered from nearby backyards. See sweetenvy.com.
PLACE TO GO FOR A BIG NIGHT OUT?
Brooke Street Pier is a specially built structure that was floated into place at the Hobart waterfront. It is the leaving point for the MONA ferry. However, it also houses the new Aloft restaurant, looking out over the Derwent and does excellent Asian-inspired food with Tasmanian ingredients. Directly downstairs is The Glasshouse, a swanky bar serving great cocktails. It has the same amazing view but, as the cocktails kick in, it will become less important. See www.aloftrestaurant.com.
BEST TIME TO VISIT, AND WHY, FOOD-WISE IN HOBART?
Late summer/early autumn is a time of abundance when the biggest variety of fruit and vegetables is available. The seasons in Tasmania are behind the mainland states by a month or two. For example, we don't see a tomato harvest until January/February. However, there is something amazing happening in each season and they are all unique. Winter, for example, is the time to visit if you want truffles.
WHAT SHOULD A VISITOR AVOID, FOOD-WISE, IN HOBART?
Anything not local. I am very much of the belief that if you go to visit a place to eat, you don't want to waste time eating produce from somewhere else.
WHAT'S HOT IN THE AREA NOW?
We are just starting truffle season. Tasmania was where the Australian truffle industry began and it is Tasmania's cold winter that ripens the truffles and gives them their great flavour. Tasmanian truffles are available at the markets as well as providores such as Wursthaus Kitchen in Salamanca. See www.wursthauskitchen.com.au.