Happy 40th Birthday Lake House

Many conversations, books, articles and interviews with Lake House Co-Founder and Managing Director Alla Wolf-Tasker AM inevitably begin with: "It was sheer madness really....." in answer to questions like: “Tell me more about the early days”; “Why Daylesford?”; “Does the current success of the business reflect your original vision?” and “How DO you keep an independently owned and operated hospitality business not only alive, but largely at the top of its game for so many years?”. The answers to all those questions have now been the substance of several books, hundreds of articles and many case studies in Hospitality and Tourism.

A Little History….

Lake House began operating in 1984. Hand built by artist and builder, the late Allan Wolf-Tasker and his chef and dreamer wife, Alla Wolf-Tasker AM, it was simple in its original mission. A 40-seat weekend only restaurant that might emulate Alla’s experiences of top end French regional hospitality in the 70’s.

Fine cooking, local produce, seasonality, great service.
A restaurant worthy of a journey in itself, not just a detour.

The block of land had been purchased in 1979. An otherwise bare, blackberry infested paddock on the swampy end of lake Daylesford. It took 4 years of building and landscaping on weekends to create the first incarnation of our house on the lake.

Once open, reality hit hard. It was the early 80’s in Australia and people didn’t journey to the countryside for any sort of special culinary experiences. Daylesford was certainly not on any gourmet traveller’s radar.

Quality regional produce was pretty much non-existent. No local fromagiers, bakers, specialty growers or general small-scale farmers. Large scale industrial agriculture was the norm right across regional Australia.

Unsurprisingly, hospitality professionals were scarce in Daylesford…. And who wanted to travel out of the city for 1-2 days of work.

Finding no ready market for their offer, for several years, Alla and Allan travelled to and from Melbourne once or twice a week for both market runs and their permanent jobs, Allan as a teacher and artist, Alla still running a cooking school & catering business. Daughter Larissa, a preschooler travelled with them.

It became obvious early on that they needed to jump “all in” or not at all if it was to work. Sheer passion, belief and obsession with the art and heart of hospitality was not going to cut it. Not then, not now.

In the ensuing years, barely 365 days have passed without a significant building, addition, development, refinement, renovation or (sometimes) complete remodeling of the Lake House and now associated businesses. Reinvestment and remaining fresh and current have been critical to the Wolf-Tasker family’s success.

Our 40th Year.....

40 years on, whilst Lake House certainly looks much different to what it was in those early years, our guests continue to remark on the connection and inspiration they feel here. Despite those early and very humble beginnings Alla and Allan’s hopes continued to be fulfilled and the legacy lives on.

At a time when good hospitality matters more than ever, we at Lake House are united with a sense that through good food and travel, we can build and encourage community and hold space for history whilst looking forward to our future. We’d like to think you agree with us, that good food matters and that good hospitality is worth investing in.

In 2024, Lake House and the Wolf-Tasker family celebrate 40 years of hospitality at our house on the lake.

Whilst each day should be enjoyed (& we plan to), a series of celebration events are planned for August and also December (to ring in the new year and the beginning of our 5th decade in style). To be first to find out, make sure you are on our mailing list.

Thank you for your support of our family, our team, our region and our house on the lake.


  • The Financial Review

    ‘It was sheer madness’: How Alla Wolf-Tasker created the Lake House

    Sue Gough Henley | May 2024

  • The Age

    From humble beginnings to Victoria’s most-loved regional hotel

    Ben Groundwater | April 2023

  • Gourmet Traveller

    This is how women do it: Leading women in restaurants

    Davi Valent | April 2024