Australia is an international melting pot of culture and cuisine. From coast to coast, Australia is a land of plenty providing a spectacular array of fresh produce. Little wonder it’s also a land of brilliant cooks and culinary artisans who, not content with creating alone, are dedicated to spreading knowledge and know-how to those who share their passion for good food.
Whether your interest is pasta-making or pork butchery, there’s an abundance of unique classes waiting for students to roll up their sleeves, get cooking, and, of course, partake of their creations afterwards – and in most cases there is wine to accompany the meal as well.
A select few can be found below:
Hunter Valley Cooking School (NSW)
The family-run Hunter Valley resort showcases the best of this renowned wine region across its 28 glorious hectares of prime Pokolbin land. Only 35 rooms and cottages dot the 40-year-old shiraz vineyards. In the main areas, there are wine appreciation classes, massages and wonderful meals. The resort’s executive chef Phillip Collis leads small group cooking classes, during which three-course meals are prepared from local organic ingredients.
For more information visit, http://www.hunterresort.com.au/
Sydney Seafood School (NSW)
With 13,000 guests a year attending classes, Sydney Seafood School is Australia’s leading cooking school.
This iconic cooking school equipped and fun cooking environment. Come to learn how to handle seafood in ways that range from creating a simple (but sublime) paella to learning sophisticated preparation techniques alongside top chefs. Best of all is the freshness of the ingredients. The Sydney fishing fleet docks right beside the market ensuring the school gets the very finest catch.
For more information visit, http://www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au
Agrarian Kitchen (TAS)
The short drive from Hobart to The Agrarian Kitchen at Lachlan, New Norfolk, sets the mood with views of perfect pastoral scenes and the lovely Derwent River along the way. Former Gourmet Traveller food writer and a one-time Tetsuya protege, Rodney Dunn runs the kitchen with his wife Severine Demanet from an atmospheric old school house surrounded by an old-fashioned farm garden. What you’ll learn to cook will be dictated by what’s in season in the garden. The first task of the day is to head outside and harvest. There are perennials in the kitchen though: most classes include a hands-on lesson in making the perfect loaf of bread.
For more information visit, http://www.theagrariankitchen.com/
On the bank of Lake Daylesford, the exquisite Lakehouse retreat and restaurant is also home to one of Australia’s most popular cooking schools. A varying roster of renowned chefs take seasonal masterclasses in a kitchen that is amply stocked from its own garden-grown olives, stone fruits, herbs and edible flowers.
For more information visit, http://www.lakehouse.com.au/
A tavola! (VIC)
The Pizzini Winery in the cool climate King Valley winegrowing region produces consistently gorgeous wines with a focus on Italian varietals. The cooking school, run by Katrina Pizzini, also has an Italian flavour with classes on pasta making, antipasti and cheese making among the hands on classes on offer.
For more information visit, http://www.pizzini.com.au/
Canberra’s Fyshwick Markets has been feeding the nation’s capital since the 1960s. These days, the fresh food icon goes the extra mile, thanks to the onsite 3Seeds cooking school, teaching Canberrans how to cook all manner of things, from tarts to tapas. The school conducts kids’ classes, too.
For more information visit, http://www.3seeds.com.au/
Sticky Rice Cooking School (SA)
Owned by passionate innkeeper Claire Fuller, this gorgeously Zen facility with a beautiful black and white decor hosts big-name guest Australian chefs such as Christine Manfield and Luke Nguyen, who come to instruct the foodie faithful in the ways of spice. Thai, Indian, Vietnamese and European cuisines such as Spanish are taught, with particular emphasis on spices, and grinding them fresh to amplify the intoxication. At class’ end, there’s a wonderful meal served with Adelaide Hills wines.
For more information visit, http://www.stickyricecookingschool.com.au/
Chapel Hill Winery (SA)
Chapel Hill Winery, in South Australia's spectacular McLaren Vale, is every foodie’s ideal escape. A 10-bedroom retreat, professional teaching kitchen and a 45-hectare vineyard nestled in the foothills of the Mt Lofty Ranges complete this culinary experience. The Retreat’s Executive Chef Rebecca Stubbs leads each hands-on class where worldly cuisine is prepared using seasonal, local products and coupled with a glass of wine from the award-winning vineyard.
For more information visit, http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/
Long Apron Cooking School (QLD)
The Long Apron Cooking School, at one of the Sunshine Coast’s most serene and luxurious retreats, is run by renowned chef Cameron Matthews, a man dedicated to the preparation and enjoyment of food in the family European way: with lots of love, laughter and the best ingredients. Guests learn to prepare the chef’s amazing Italian and French dishes, before sitting down to a long lunch with matched wine.
For more information visit, http://www.spicersgroup.com.au/
Spirit House (QLD)
Set in lush tropical gardens and utilising fresh Asian ingredients grown on surrounding farms, this hands-on Cooking School at the Spirit House offers daily classes that focus on Thai flavours and methods, demystifying ingredients and technique. Classes include ‘Chiang Mai Banquet’ and ‘Royal Thai Palace’ as well as ‘Chop Chop’, a lesson in professional knife skills. Guests cook four to six recipes each class, then wine and dine in a garden pavilion.
For more information visit, http://www.spirithouse.com.au/
Tamborine Cooking School (QLD)
Located amongst two acres of gardens on the Western Escarpment, the Tamborine Cooking School overlooks the Albert Valley on Mount Tamborine. Each class focuses on fresh, seasonal produce, with samples and tastings of seasonal olives, macadamia, dukka and local cheese. Traditional cooking techniques and wholesome ingredients make up the School’s culture, while many of the vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown organically on the premises. Guests can stroll through the gardens and browse through cookbooks from the School’s culinary library.
For more information visit, http://www.tamborinecookingschool.com.au/
Faraway Bay Bush Tucker and Camp Oven Cooking School (WA)
This is no ordinary cooking school. Set in the remote East Kimberley region, the Faraway Bay Bush Tucker and Camp Oven Cooking School provides guests with a unique opportunity to learn more about the gourmet delights hidden within the pristine Kimberley wilderness. Guided bush walks encourage guests to look for ingredients like native lemon grass, bush passion fruit and rock figs. Boabs, kangaroo and a huge array of freshly caught fish are also on the menu. Much of the cooking takes place on the camp oven over an open fire at Eagle Lodge, overlooking the tranquil waters of Faraway Bay.
For more information visit, http://www.farawaybay.com.au/