By: Vivienne Pearson
After mucking in at a jam-making class with Real Food Projects at Harvest last week, I am inspired to track down other classy ways of expanding my cooking repertoire. It turns out there are many options to whet my appetite.
On trend with a focus on local, seasonal produce is Taste Byron Bay, which has been offering classes since mid-last year. Run at The Fig Tree, some classes have set cuisines but others are driven by the produce available. ‘I look at the ingredients and decide which country to go to from there,’ says chef Terase Davidson.
If you have a particular cuisine in mind, classes are a great way to immerse yourself in a new way of eating. Veet Karen founded her cooking school after being unable to find a way of training as a chef without handling meat. Her classes now focus purely on vegan cooking (using 100 per cent organic produce) and her courses are hands on, full of eating as well as cooking, and intensive – with a minimum four-day commitment.
With other classes, you can dedicate as little as one afternoon, giving you the freedom to try something different. Each term, Byron Community College offers several cooking classes, with current offerings featuring cheese-making, fermentation and sourdough bread. Course coordinator Vicki Walker speaks about how enjoyable cooking classes can be, with passionate and generous presenters teaching small groups of keen participants.
Leah Roland’s weekday class participants are high-school students but on weekends and school holidays, Leah, of Bangalow Cooking School, is available for ‘custom’ cooking classes for groups as diverse as a bucks party, a team of executives or a group of friends wishing to cater for a special dinner party.
Can you call a raw-food creation workshop a ‘cooking class’? You can, according to Natasha, a chef at Naked Treaties. ‘We call it cooking here too!’ she laughs. Though on a bit of a winter hiatus, plans are afoot to add raw-chocolate classes to the popular Raw Food Workshops, which create a five-course meal to top off the afternoon.
Mmm, five-course meal… special dinner party… cooking classes full of eating… These classy options have definitely whetted my appetite.