Why not brush up on your culinary skills while you’re on holiday in the Margaret River region? Janine Pittaway puts together her list of the best behind the pots and pans.
Winter gives us time to slow down and enjoy indoor pursuits that feed the soul. The Margaret River region provides plenty of sustenance with a choice of different options for cooking classes throughout the season.
Here’s my pick of the bunch:
The exclusive Cape Lodge in Yallingup opens its doors for cooking classes throughout the year.
Head chef Michael Elfwing is a great teacher, providing step-by-step demonstrations to a different seasonal theme each month with the group sitting down at the end of the three-course lesson to enjoy a long-table shared meal with Cape Lodge wines. Michael does his best to source top quality ingredients that are unique to the region, such as finger lime, marron, abalone, venison, dorper lamb, macadamias and pomegranate. The menus for each class are designed to be easily recreated at home. June has sold out but July’s theme is Wilyabrup produce, August provides the final truffle class for the year and September is Vegetarian. Cooking with Marron in October is always a favourite.
Guests are completely taken care of with morning tea on arrival and interaction with Michael in a fun and informal setting. He’ll take guests on a walk round the vegetable garden to pick seasonal produce and they go home with a comprehensive recipe booklet.
Cost is $145 per person for the cooking class and lunch, or $95 for lunch only, which is a great option for couples staying at Cape Lodge. Classes and lunch run from 11am to 2.30pm.
THE LARDER, MARGARET RIVER
The Larder’s cooking classes, now in their fourth year, are created with winter in mind and feature a different regional guest chef leading each class.
Classes are limited to nine people and are held in the Larder kitchen. Each chef showcases a theme they are best known for. It’s a great chance for chefs to connect with participants, something they don’t always get to do in their restaurants. Being a small class allows for great interactions and new friendships to be forged.
And best of all? Guests get to share the prepared dishes at the end of the evening and take home the recipes. Most ingredients are available from The Larder on the night and guests receive a 10 percent discount on ingredients purchased.
Classes are $90 and run on mid-week evenings from 6.30pm for up to three hours.
Get in quick as all classes sold out in record time last year. This winter you can enjoy Hot and Spicy cooking classes with Dany Angove from Leeuwin Estate, a Taste of Native Smallgoods with Julian Mann from Margaret River Mahogany, a Duck Masterclass with Sean Carter from The Noshery, and an Asian Feast with Coby Cockburn from Palmers Winery.
WILDWOOD VALLEY, YALLINGUP
Husband and wife team Sioban and Carlo have been running Tuscan, Woodfired and Thai cooking classes at Wildwood Valley Cottages + Cooking School for more than 13 years. They divide their time between Tuscany, where they run Mad About Tuscany Tours, and Yallingup. The Yallingup Cooking School resumes in late November and classes are currently scheduled to February 2018.
It’s a hands-on experience for the 10 class participants so you’ll get to chop, stir, smell and taste as you cook. Classes are BYO.
It’s a six-hour adventure, starting at 10am with coffee, followed by the cooking class and canapés, and ending in a three-course feast.
Tuscan classes usually involve pasta making, and the Woodfired class typically includes pizza making and slow cooked meat like porchetta or duck. The oven is set among tall eucalypt trees, with beautiful garden and views down the valley to the ocean.
The cooking school costs $140 per person plus there’s the option of staying overnight in one of their delightful cottages. Sioban keeps track of return guests to ensure a recipe is never used twice.
RUSTICO AT HAYSHED HILL, MARGARET RIVER
Join Head Chef Mike McAllister for an international food adventure to create delicious Rustico-inspired dishes.
In a two and a half hour class, guests learn how to shuck oysters, make scallop ceviche, perfect crispy pork crackle, taste jamon and paella, and enjoy a few Hayshed Hill wines along the way.
Classes run Monday to Friday at 10.30am.
For more information or to book phone 9755 6455 or email [email protected]
FOOD BY THE CHEF, DUNSBOROUGH
Chef George Cooper is introducing cooking masterclasses to his Food by the Chef private dining experiences this winter. Learn some of George’s tricks of the trade to make your next dinner party simple, tasty, and stress-free.
Each lesson will provide different tips, tricks and themes including show-stopping snacks, making a cheap cut taste good, salt, sweet, cooking a good tapas and a chocoholics dream.
Classes are held in George’s commercial kitchen and will run over lunchtimes on June 18, July 1, and July 8 from 10am for $95 per person including lunch and a take-home recipe book.
Check out other food workshops in Your Margaret River Region
Learn to make your own delicious cheese in the Yallingup hills.
Distil your own blend of gin in a small hands-on class.
Tour the farm and organic veggie garden then sit down for a delicious lunch.
For more inspiration on workshops and classes in the Margaret River region visit www.margaretriver.com/activities/workshops-classes/