With its growing reputation for high-quality cuisine, Australia is an ideal location for incentive groups and conference delegates, who appreciate the best in fresh produce and exceptional cooking. The country has a range of cooking schools where groups can learn the techniques to create a variety of delicious dishes.
Cooking together can foster a sense of team spirit; improve team performance and increase initiative and motivation. And above all, it's fun!
Below are five of Australia’s finest cooking schools :
1. SYDNEY SEAFOOD SCHOOL
Sydney, New South Wales
Where is it? Located in the bustling Sydney Fish Market and within walking distance of the CBD.
What is it like? From Aussie barbecue favourites to complex dishes, groups will learn new skills and sample delicious dishes in one of Sydney’s most iconic food venues.
The school offers exclusive cooking classes for team building or incentive activities.
All classes commence in a tiered auditorium with a demonstration of the dishes to be prepared. After this, participants roll up their sleeves and, in groups of five – with guidance from the presenter and assistants – recreate the dishes, preparing a delicious seafood meal which they will enjoy with a complimentary wine tasting.
Price: Starts from A$85 (US$87.50) per person for a two-hour class. Booking must be made at least eight weeks in advance.
Sydney Seafood School
2. UDDER DELIGHTS CHEESE CELLAR
Adelaide, South Australia
Where is it? Situated in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, it is a 30-minute car drive from the city centre. The town is home to shops, galleries, cafes, pubs and within a stone’s throw of world-class wineries.
What is it like? Creators of a delectable range of artisan goat and cow cheeses, family-operated Udder Delights runs a variety of lessons for the budding cheese maker. Instruction focuses on the art and practicalities of the craft, rather than the science, and all equipment used can be found in a typical home kitchen.
Participants will learn how to make feta, learn how to turn the it into Camembert and learn how to turn the left over whey into ricotta.
Price: Private classes are run at a cost of A$140 (US$144) per head and are held in the underground cellar at Udder Delights Cheese Cellar. The minimum number for a group booking is 10 people and the maximum is 14 people. An eight weeks advance booking is required.
3. LONG APRON COOKING SCHOOL
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Where is it? Tucked in the lush Sunshine Coast hinterlands about 90 minutes from Brisbane, it is located the Spicers Clovelly Estate, an intimate hideaway with just 10 exclusive suites.
What is it like? For the past 12 months, executive chef Cameron Matthews has been conducting fortnightly classes here, focusing on alternating themes of Italian dishes and French classics.
The Italian class showcases basic techniques that make all the difference to an authentic meal – handmade pasta, gnocchi and bolognaise sauce to name a few. In Chef Matthews’ French class, farmhouse versions of pork rillette, salt crusted chicken and caramalised tarte tartin will excite, challenge and inspire.
Price: Long Apron Cooking School classes start at A$165 (US$170) per person. Accommodation-inclusive packages are available. Places are limited, so booking in advance is essential.
4. LAKE HOUSE
Where is it? Lake House is well known as one of Australia’s premier food and wine destinations. Situated in Daylesford just 80 minutes’ drive from Melbourne, it’s a place of breathtaking scenery.
What is it like? Lakes, rivers, waterfalls, pristine bush and Australia's largest concentration of naturally-occurring mineral springs offer a myriad of possible experiences for corporate groups. In addition to the award-winning Lake House restaurant, there is a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, which plays host to a seasonal calendar of visiting chefs and producers.
Private master classes for groups of 10 to 70 foodie enthusiasts are tailor-made depending on the level of skill shared by the group.
Demonstrations range from using the abundant produce from the surrounding farms, to learning how to fillet a fish, the best ways to get a wood fired oven to perform, bio-dynamics, French or Italian techniques and even matching a dish to wine (or vice versa).
Price: From A$195 (US$201) per person includes full day of demonstrations, dish tastings, baguette lunch, continuous refreshments, wine tasting and chefs’ notes to take home. Places are limited so bookings should be made at least 12 weeks prior.
Courtesy of Lake House
Sydney, New South Wales
Where is it? Located in Sydney’s CBD
What is it like? Mention French cuisine and cue images of fluffy pastries, intricate cakes and mouth-watering macaroons. In the Baroque Masterclass, chef and nutritionist Nathan White dispels the myth that all French food is an indulgence.
The weekly classes include whole animal cooking with a choice of duck or Petuna ocean trout, vegetarian dishes and the beloved original Macaroon Master Class.
Along with step-by-step instruction on recipes and cooking methods, White breaks down the nutritional aspects of each ingredient. Participants will really enjoy relaxing and devouring their creations with matching wines.
Master classes are held every Sunday (except public holiday weekends) from 10am to 4pm.
Price: The cost starts from A$150 (US$154) per person, with a minimum group of three and a maximum of 10 people per class.