10 February 2023

Five minutes with Trent Vrtanes Esmerian, Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Café

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Trent Vrtanes Esmerian

Trent Vrtanes Esmerian from Wildflour in Fyshwick. Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

Who is Trent Vrtanes Esmerian: I am the part owner and manager of Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Café in Fyshwick.

Best recent dining experience: I would probably have to say Raku, and keep in mind I’m not a fan of raw fish, but damn, it was good.

READ ALSO Cartel Taqueria: south of the border just got a lot more divertido!

Favourite cuisine: Middle Eastern, by far. It is also my background (Palestinian Armenian), so it’s always super nostalgic for me!

Most embarrassing pantry or fridge item: We don’t have it any more (thank God), but it used to be the buy-in balsamic glaze. I don’t know why, but I just don’t like it. It also looks cheap and I don’t like the taste either.


These croissants were a hit in the Region office! Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

What ingredient can I not live without: Probably extra virgin olive oil, to be honest!

Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: I would say our specialty custard-filled croissants would be up there. [Region tried these, and they were gone within minutes.]


Wildflour in Fyshwick. Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: Wildflour in Fyshwick, of course!

My go-to coffee spot in Canberra: I don’t know if I could pick only one, so I’ll say any shop using ONA or Veneziano beans that are well-trained with good systems in place would be a good start. My last good cup outside of my shop was probably Typica in Manuka.

Favourite coffee? I love to start with an espresso and finish with a flat white.

poke bowl

A poke bowl at Wildflour. Photo: Wildflour.

A must-try on our menu: For me, it’s our poke bowl with chicken. However, our rosti bene (eggs Benedict with potato rosti instead of bread) is one of our most popular dishes.

Our most authentic dish: Our avocado. It just works so well. It’s not too big and not too small. All the flavours just work, and it’s just such a refreshing dish, and it looks epic.

I think you can get a good idea of a café by the standard of their smashed avo. I hold ours in very high regard. I’ve had many awesome ones at other places and many not-so-awesome ones. If I’m going out checking out a new café, I’ll start with their smashed avo. I think ours is authentic because it emphasises the main avocado ingredient and enhances it with its accompanying ingredients.


The croissants are a must-try. Photo: Wildflour.

Our most-used ingredient at Wildflour: Butter. We go through an insane amount of butter, which is mostly due to the sheer volume of croissants we make.

Our top-pick from our desserts: Our new specialty croissants, which include our pistachio custard or hazelnut custard croissants. There are more flavours on the way …

Biggest culinary influence: My heritage, being Armenian from Palestine, flavours of the Levant are always in my head. However, I don’t want to let that influence be overpowering, so while we might have a few bits and pieces here and there, I wouldn’t describe our menu as Armenian or even Middle Eastern fusion. Rather modern Australian, super simple, super yummy, not pretentious, just a good love of good food, with a few Middle Eastern whispers!

But we’ve also got a massive bakery operation going on, and that is where my French business partner Romain comes in. We’re making a lot of products from scratch right out of Fyshwick: sourdough, bagels, pies, pastries, croissants, cake slices, etc etc.

Who I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: The boys at XO, the team at Raku, 86, Café Gather, and many others are just very inspiring. I deeply respect and admire those who give their best and always try to improve and innovate with an intense care for their craft. This is what I also try to bring to Wildflour.

chocolate pancakes

The chocolate pancakes at Wildflour. Photo: Wildflour.

What’s the special of the week at Wildflour Fyshwick: Our chocolate pancakes.

Where am I travelling next: Japan and South Korea with my lovely girlfriend (although the trip’s probably some years away still). They just seem like awesome places to visit and we’ve both got friends that have been to either or both, and they have loved it.

Dream destination? Armenia and Georgia. They’ve both preserved their old cities so well. Both have buildings and streets dating back millennia and it feels like you’d be travelling back in time in some ways. Of course, both are also modern, but they’ve maintained their older heritage while advancing forward, just a nice blend of ancient, medieval, renaissance and new.


Trent would love to visit Armenia with his girlfriend. Photo: Armenia, Facebook.

Death row meal: My Nene’s lahmajoun (flat Armenian pizza), dolma (lamb mince and rice stuffed zucchinis and red capsicums), a big bowl of tabouleh (not the stuff you see at kebab shops, I mean like real tabouleh, it’s delicious), a couple of bits of Armenian flat bread and maybe for dessert a nice knafeh (sweet halloumi with orange blossom syrup on top).

My least favourite food: Raw fish and pumpkin. I don’t know why; it’s a flavour thing, not a texture thing.

My favourite vegetable: Probably broccoli. Just steam in and add salt, olive oil and sumac, and you’ve got a nice addition to your chicken breast and brown rice meal prep.

READ ALSO Multicultural Eats: Papa J’s serves up a feast that is boodles of fun!

COVID-19 response: It was a difficult time for many folks. It definitely hit us hard here, but we’ve been able to rebound and come out stronger.

My top three recipe tips:

  1. Make it with love
  2. Go easy on the salt; you can always add more later
  3. Taste everything, all the time, like at least five times.

Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Café is open Monday to Friday, 7:30 am to 2 pm; Saturday, 8 am to 2: 30 pm; and Sunday and public holidays, 8 am to 2 pm. It is located at 8 Townsville Street, Fyshwick.

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