Run by Ha Nguyen, one of the most cheerful guys in Melbourne, a class at OTAO Kitchen will not only result in a delicious meal and some sweet kitchen skills, but also create some fun memories. Specialising in Asian cuisine, OTAO Kitchen offers Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and Indian classes, just to name a few. If you want to get more specific, there are also classes for dumpling making and Asian finger food. In addition to offering classes, Ha also runs tours including one of Victoria Street. Here you’ll learn about the immigrant history of the area and how the thriving Vietnamese restaurants came to be, plus get an insider scoop on where to shop.
If you’re looking for a cooking class that’s personable and homely, La Cucina di Sandra is the experience for you. Cooking up an Italian festa in her own home, Sandra’s classes are as authentic as they come. Armed with recipes and comprehensive notes, you can soak in all of Sandra’s knowledge as she passes on the cooking traditions of her heritage. At the La Cucina Di Nonna class, you’ll see how classic Italian dishes are prepared just as Sandra’s nonna used to make. Gnocchi obsessed? There’s a class for that — it explores the lesser known but equally delicious varieties of these fluffy pillows of goodness. Your class comes with a complimentary glass of wine, nibblies before the meal and, of course, the delicious meal prepared by someone who genuinely loves Italian cooking.
With its position right next door to a renowned fresh food market, your experience at The Neff Market Kitchen is off to the right start. Classes are run by notable Melbourne chefs who will guide you as you learn the necessary techniques to create your chosen cuisine. Classes are interactive but also easy-going, so if you prefer an observational experience, you can have that, too. The hardest part will be deciding which class to book, with everything from Modern Brunch Secrets (with Wade Kennedy, head chef at The Hardware Societe) to Flavours of South East Asia (with Zac Cribbes, head chef and director at Lucy Liu).
Take your love of chocolate to the next level by creating it yourself at Ganache Chocolate School. Those with a sweet tooth will be in their element as a chocolate expert guides you through how to make your favourite treat, from truffles to chocolate bars. Favour the eating rather than the making of chocolate? You’re in luck — there’s a class that focusses on tasting and appreciation. Other classes include Secrets of the Perfect Macaron and Seriously Salted Caramel. After your class, you’ll be able to take home your chocolatier wares but only if you haven’t eaten them all.
Free to feed is a cooking school that not only teaches cooking skills, but also makes a difference. This social enterprise is the brainchild of community worker Loretta Bolotin and her husband, Daniel Bolotin. Classes are run by refugees and asylum seekers, providing them with employment opportunities and a chance to connect with the community. Free to feed hosts are highly skilled and will share the unique food traditions of their culture while providing you with a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. Cook authentic dishes from around the world and enjoy tasting new flavours, while hearing the inspiring stories.
Local foodies and chefs go to The Essential Ingredient to buy high-quality cookware, gourmet ingredients or maybe even a new cookbook, making it a fantastic spot to pick up some new culinary skills. The 2018 schedule of classes sees Daniel Wilson, chef and co-owner of Huxtaburger, sharing his knowledge of the art of burger making. Kylie Miller of Attica and MasterChef fame also makes an appearance, with a class that pays homage to the year she spent working for the famed restaurant Mugaritz in San Sebastian.
If you consider dessert the most important meal of the day, then let Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School teach you how to do it right. It’s a one-stop shop for learning how to make sweet treats, with classes ranging from chocolate making to cake baking. Learn how to craft the correct textures and delicious flavours in your decadent desserts and patisseries, as well nail the presentation. It also runs Easter- and Christmas-themed workshops, for those wanting to whip up something special for these festive times of year.