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Melbourne's Best Cooking Classes

Expand your repertoire and confidence at some of the city’s best schools


When I was four or five, my mother signed up for night school. At the adult education centre, she selected Chinese 101. Back then, the distinct cuisines of this great culinary nation were boiled down to chow mein and what we used to call “short soup”. Nonetheless, I was forever grateful that she paid someone to teach her egg foo-yong.

These days, it’s an altogether more complex matter in Melbourne’s master classes. Annually at the Food and Wine Festival, a galaxy of Michelin stars collide to show us everything from advanced sourdough to molecular techniques. And, for the rest of the year, there’s more than enough cooking instruction to keep us ahead of chow mein.

A woman who has long been here to feed the need of Australian housewives for Chinese recipes is Elizabeth Chong. For many years, her cooking school in toney Hawthorn (ph 9819 3666) has been brewing a master-stock of knowledge. It is reputed, by the way, that this daughter of Guangzhou is related to the inventor of that unique Aus-Sino fusion dumpling, the dim sim.

Travel south to Murrumbeena for the skinny on middle-eastern technique. Oasis Bakery has grown from a small Egyptian deli to an awe-inspiring barn of ingredients spring from Morocco to the Gulf. Phone 03 9570 1122 for information on their weekly cooking classes which, more often than not, focus on meat free cooking.

Back up north, Carlton’s Enoteca Sileno offers a comprehensive range of Italian courses that range in difficulty from basic barista to rocking risotto. Phone 03 9389 7000 and do not fear: you’ll be able to eat after class!

At the Grand Old Lady of produce, Queen Vic, we cook with unfeasibly fresh. Phone 03 9320 5822 for a class that often includes a glass of something fortifying.

The confident and curious cook will have her hotplates ignited by a culinary tour. The Centre for Adult Education travels through Tel Aviv and Teheran and never fails to attract a full coterie of novice Vietnamese cooks for its regular walks through Victoria Street, Richmond. Ph 03 9652 0611.

As you build your skills, so will your appetite grow for the mastery of new cooking styles. Melbourne offers an array of possibilities; just let me know if one of them includes a lesson in chow mein.

SM King, Citysearch 

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