Posted: 5 Feb 2014

5 of Melbourne’s best cooking classes

Want to master smoky American barbecue or Vietnamese street food? Ever had an urge to butcher your own meat? Or learn skills from your favourite chef? Cooking classes are big business in Melbourne, with culinary schools popping up all over town. Here’s the pick of the bunch.

1. The Social Kitchen

Shed A, Queen Victoria Market, Corner Victoria & Peel sts, Melbourne

Shane Delia MahaOpening late last year in a blaze of celebrity chefs and shiny new Fisher & Paykel kitchen gear, The Social Kitchen has literally popped up in the Queen Vic Market‘s A Shed on the north-western corner of the Queen Vic Market for a 26 week season. Catering powerhouse Peter Rowland is behind the project with those nice Kiwis from Fisher & Paykel, who are keen to show off their schmicko stoves and cooktops to an Australian public who only seem to buy their fridges. Big name chefs are lining up to teach masterclasses, including Maha‘s Shane Delia, Northern Light‘s Adam Liston, Epocha‘s Sascha Randle, Estelle‘s Scott Pickett, Matteo’s Brendan McQueen and Niuew Amsterdam‘s Nick Stanton. All classes finish with a sit-down meal to enjoy your spoils with classmates, plus a goodie bag with market gifts and recipes. Day classes ($135) start with a food hunt around the Queen Vic before transforming the seasonal ingredients into something amazing, while the masterclasses ($275) are more intensive and run for longer. Check out the many themes at the Social Kitchen website.

2. Piper St Food Co

Damian Sandercock Piper St Foodstore89B Piper St, Kyneton, 5422 3553

Kyneton’s own charcuterie king Damian Sandercock has been creating excellent rillettes, pates and sausages in a small space for several years. Now he has his dream kitchen, shop and cafe, along with a vast cooking school featuring a beautiful white Aga stove. Expect full-day charcuterie classes ($330), whole pig masterclasses ($210) and more basic cooking sessions focussing on eggs, pasta, salads and knife sharpening (from $85). Five of the Best loves the look of the Christmas Ham class ($250), so you can make your own in time for the silly season, along with sessions on turkeys and stuffings. Damian is like a kid in a lolly shop with all the new equipment and beautiful hand-built work tables. His excitement is infectious. Check out the list of classes here.

3. Pasta masterclass at home

Daniel ToninHome kitchens around Melbourne, 0407 335 531 (call 9am-5pm please)

Danny Tonin might not be a household name, but many of you will have already tasted his pasta at some of Melbourne’s most famous restaurants. Others may have tasted his family’s delicious pasta, made fresh daily at Pasta Classica in Collingwood’s Smith St. Now Danny is taking his pasta skills into people’s homes, running masterclasses for small groups in home kitchens. Danny brings all equipment and ingredients, along with a few cheeky vinos. He teaches up to six people how to make cut and filled pasta before cooking the lot with a few basic sauces, The whole experience takes 2-3 hours and will change your home cooking life forever ($129/head). Check out Danny’s website for more details. Danny will also be teaching pasta masterclasses at The Social Kitchen in January and February.

4. Gary’s lamb masterclass

Shop 515, Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra,  9826 0815

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to break down an entire lamb, Gary Gary McBean is the man for you. Prahran Market’s famous organic butcher walks you through the process of breaking down a lamb into primal cuts, answering all those dumb questions you were always too afraid to ask. After watching the pro at work, participants break down their own lamb, taking home a side of organic saltbush Dorper lamb (valued at more than $250). This makes the $390 Tuesday night class excellent value.

Yallateef. Oasis Bakery5. Oasis Bakery

9/993 North Rd, Murrumbeena, 9570 1122

Oasis is aptly named. This Middle Eastern bakery, cafe and grocery store is a treasure trove of edible goodies. It’s also the home to a Middle Eastern cooking school, offering lessons in time-honoured gems like chicken tajine, falafel, pomegranate and Lebanese barbecue. Get all the tips, pick up a copy of the gorgeous Oasis cookbook Yallateef! ($29.99, right) and grab all the ingredients you need at the store. The 90-minute classes are also excellent value at $60/head.

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