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Top 9 cooking classes in Australia


9 cooking classes for the adventurous of spirit & palate-by Australian Traveller Magazine


Wild Lime Cooking School offers its students accommodation in a Treehouse cottage

Wild Lime Cooking School offers its students accommodation in a Treehouse cottage

Sticky Rice Cooking School- South Australia

July 31, 2014

We’ve combed Australia’s cooking schools to find this top-shelf selection of cooking classes that are out of the ordinary in their food, philosophy and, of course, their locations (By: Greta Stonehouse).

1. The Agrarian Kitchen, Lachlan, Tasmania

Where better to learn the art of cooking wholesome food than where it comes from. The Agrarian Kitchen is a sustainable, farm-based cooking school in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley. One of the founders, Rodney Dunn, a former chef under Tetsuya, combines his passion for great cuisine with the pristine Tasmanian landscape – a foodie’s dreamland. See: The Agrarian Kitchen

2. Cape Lodge, Margaret River, Western Australia

Situated on its own vineyard and surrounded by the stunning Margaret River Wine Country, this five-star boutique resort is a blissful spot for a gourmet retreat. Cape Lodge is the kind of place where chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Rick Stein and Adriano Zumbo stay. While cooking classes are held by some of Australia’s top chefs, they are not run regularly, which means getting your skates on and bee-lining for the River when they are. See: Cape Lodge

3. Bells at Killcare, NSW Central Coast

Bells at Killcare runs a monthly cooking school hosted by the head chef of Manfredi at Bells, Cameron Cansdell. The menu is forever changing, thanks to Manfredi’s traditional Italian cooking philosophy of only using seasonal, organic produce. Before attempting the simple Italian recipes, students handpick produce from the serene Bells gardens. The experience is then finished off by dining with the chefs while sipping on some award-winning Manfredi wines. See: Bells at Killcare

4. Chapel Hill Wine, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Chapel Hill Wine a cooking school, in the heart of fabulous McLaren Vale, encourages its students to develop the delicate taste of ‘umami’, the fifth sense of taste (corresponding to the flavour of glutamates, according to the Oxford dictionary). With classes led by the prize-winning chef Rebecca Stubbs, against a backdrop of rolling hills and expansive coastline, this is an ideal spot to get to know all five of your senses intimately. See: Chapel Hill Wine

5. Foragers, Pemberton, Western Australia

When Chris Zalokar combined his artisan building skills with Sophie’s Zalokar depth of cooking knowledge, this charming cooking school was born. Trained under Maggie Beer, Sophie was cooking around the world before she settled in the untouched southern forests of Pemberton, where Chris has built stylish farm accommodation. Classes range from hands-on cooking techniques to learning the fundamental skills of food production and, most importantly, cheese making. See: Foragers

6. Sticky Rice, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

With celebrity chefs like Poh dropping in to take a masterclass, Sticky Rice undoubtedly understands the art of Asian flavour. As well as pounding out aromatic curries and feasting on the rewards afterwards, students have the opportunity of staying in one in one of Sticky Rice’s villas modelled on Balinese, Thai, and Japanese architecture. See: Sticky Rice

7. Spirit House, Yandina, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Nestled amongst tropical gardens and tranquil ponds, The Spirit House has the right amount of exotic ambience to transport its guests into the heart of Thailand. Home to an award-winning Asian food restaurant, this is a sublime spot for learning how to make the finest modern Thai cuisine.

8. Wild Lime Cooking School, Lamington National Park, Queensland

Hidden in the Lost World Valley in Queensland’s food basket, the Scenic Rim, is a cooking school with more than just your average view. The Wild Lime Cooking school offers snug ‘Treehouse Cottage’ accommodation, equipped with a fireplace and a balcony, so you can cook and relax all the while staring out at the World Heritage-listed rainforested mountains of Lamington National Park.

9. Flavours of the Valley, Kangaroo Valley, NSW

With a focus on locally sourced, quality produce, Flavours of the Valley offers a range of Mediterranean cooking techniques practiced against a backdrop of peaceful Kangaroo Valley. As well as classes, a ‘Tastes of the Valley’ mini-bus tour is available, going behind the scenes of the farmers, providores and makers of the gourmet food and wine on offer in this serene region.

News Reviews

Poh’s masterclass

We have a very special masterclass just posted in the calendar with Celebrity Chef Poh.

Thanks to our friends at Matilda Bookshop you also get a copy of her new book as part of the ticket price. As a VIP guest on the day Poh will be your chef and you will enjoy cooking demonstrations and tastings of several of the recipes from her new book all served to you with matching wines from Mclaren Vale winery Dowie Doole. This up close and personal event gets you the chance to meet Poh, sample delicious food and wine and then take away your own signed copy of her new book. Could be a great Mothers Day gift as the event is on 15th May!

Book via Sticky Rice Cooking School’s website here

Master Chefs News

Cooking with friends by Electrolux



Tetsuya Wakuda

Tetsuya’s Restaurant and Electrolux Ambassador

What inspires you to cook with friends?

When I find great produce I want to share it with my friends and see their reaction.

How do you prepare to cook with friends?

I go to the markets and base the dinner around my choice of ingredients. This is usually as simple as possible, one pot cooking so I can enjoy the time with my friends.

What makes the perfect dinner party?

The friends you invite to share the meal with.

What are the things you can’t live without?

Spring onion, garlic, ginger and good quality olive oil.

What did you learn from your time spent with Claire from Sticky Rice?

I appreciated the peaceful and amazing atmosphere at the cooking school. The Electrolux kitchen has been beautifully laid out and is extremely functional.

Claire Fuller

Sticky Rice Cooking School

What inspires you to cook with friends?

Usually it’s a new recipe. I enjoy selecting and planning a menu, and then to put it into practise. I essentially use my friends as guinea pigs! In fact, when Tetsuya left I recreated three of his amazing dishes for 40 staff. He did say I could call him if I got stuck but I managed to pull it off!

How do you prepare to cook with friends?

I choose recipes that I know will work within the time I have. I am past the days slaving away on a Thai banquet, frantically stir frying and deep frying while my guests are left unattended. Prep is crucial – the dishes that come together magically without effort on the night are winners.

What makes the perfect dinner party?

The most important aspect of the dinner party is your group of friends. If they enjoy themselves, have great food and feel looked after, then it’s gone well. It’s perfect when the food seems effortless but has people raving about it long afterwards.

What are the things you can’t live without?

Chilli… And all the Asian pantry staples such as fish sauce, soy sauce and oyster sauce.

What did you learn from your time spent with Tetsuya at Sticky Rice?

How calm and relaxed you should be when entertaining! Not to complicate dishes with sides and salads and lots of extras. Let the star of the dish shine through. A small serve of a quality protein bursting with flavour is so much more elegant and satisfying than a big plate of carbs.

Master Chefs News

Woman’s Weekly explores the Adelaide Hills


Wine, food, heart and soul: Discovering the Adelaide Hills

By Kerry and Scott Warren
Friday, January 24, 2014
The dogs of Hahndorf Hill Winery, just one of the boutique businesses that make the Adelaide Hills so special.

The dogs of Hahndorf Hill Winery, just one of the boutique businesses that make the Adelaide Hills so special.

A short drive from Adelaide, a long way from anywhere, home to some of Australia’s best cool climate wines and with pride and passion at every turn … discover a world where local matters in the Adelaide Hills.

I’m halfway through the delicious chocovino experience at Hahndorf Hill Winery when I think that I’m starting to understand this winemaking business.

Listening to our host Christine explain the marriage of creative flair and tried-and-tested principles that underpin the boutique winery’s creations, I ask whether the delicious Gruner Veltliner in my hand is equal parts science and art.

“Good, but you forgot the most important ingredient,” she smiles. “Heart”

The chocovino experience at Hahndorf Hill Winery.

Visiting the postcard towns of Hahndorf and Stirling over the course of a warm, sunny October weekend, heart emerges time and time again as the secret ingredient that makes the Adelaide Hills one of Australia’s most charming wine regions.

Less than half an hour from the relative bustle of South Australia’s capital, the Hills rise steeply to a cooler climate where vineyards, cellar doors, market gardens and a stunning botanic garden – as well as the friendly towns around which they’re set – provide a welcome contrast to the Barossa Valley and McClaren Vale, which bookend the Hills to the north and south, and far handier for a city-based daytripper.

In contrast to many of Australia’s other major wine-growing regions, the Adelaide Hills has the strong community atmosphere of a place where people live a life unrelated to tourists. Perhaps that’s the legacy of the Prussian migrants who settled here in the 1830s and named their new village after the captain of the ship that brought them to Australia – Dirk Hahn.

Learning some of the history and culture behind the region adds further fun (and education) to tasting the wines it produces, which is a wonderful result of sharing a day touring the cellar doors with wine expert and host Jason Miller – a sober pair of hands behind the wheel is the least of the thorough service he offers through his bespoke touring company Rich & Lingering.

Jason’s tour doesn’t just ensure we taste the best of the region’s wines, including the aforementioned chocovino and the Shaw & Smith wine and cheese flight, he’s a bonafide local attuned to the latest developments, even taking us with him on his reconnaissance visit of Red Cacao in Stirling, a brand new heaven for the passionate chocolate lover hidden behind the Stirling’s understated shopfronts.

The beautiful tasting room at Shaw and Smith.

And while those newest arrivals proudly carry the torch for all the Adelaide Hills stands for, the region’s marquee institutions – the likes of Mount Lofty House and Bridgewater Mill – retain the same passion for doing the little things that make a customer’s visit special.

Bridgewater Mill’s restaurant deck provides a the perfect setting for visitors requiring respite from the wine tasting, the historic mill wheel trundling tirelessly and the occasional mist blowing from it to take the heat out of the day. The food is the equal of the setting, and for those determined to continue at pace with sampling the regions reds and whites, the wine list is all you’d imagine.

Mount Lofty House, set between a botanic garden and scenic lookout (and with an impressive garden and view of its own) is a landmark of the region and has the sort of story to tell you’d expect of its 150-plus-year history.

The stunningly situated Mount Lofty House.

Built in the 1850s by businessman and politician Arthur Hardy as a family retreat, it served as a private residence until 1983, when it was gutted by the Ash Wednesday bushfires.

Like a phoenix from the ashes, it was reborn, after a tireless restoration, as a boutique hotel. In the 30 years that have passed it has grown and developed, today offering the same historic boutique service and atmosphere despite having become a major wedding, function and dining hotspot.

That tireless hard work and commitment to providing something memorable is echoed down the road at Sticky Rice, a cooking school popular with ambitious amateurs and dedicated professionals alike looking to add an exotic new cuisine to their repertoire.

Our class is a four-hour tour de force in preparing, cooking and ultimately devouring a fragrant Thai feast. Knife skills and combining flavours, the art of getting that curry just spicy enough and the secrets of achieving restaurant flavour are all shared by a very patient expert chef.

A cooking class at Sticky Rice.

Our handiwork is impressive, and as always in this neck of the woods, a glass of wine is never far away.

The question of where to lay your head after the intensive class is easily solved by Sticky Rice’s latest development – three architect-designed villas offering Balinese, Japanese and zen themes, and each appointed in décor sourced from the country being replicated.

A night in the understated class of the Japanese villa with an open fire in the private courtyard and yet more of the Adelaide Hills’ cool climate shiraz is a fine way to end our stay in the region.

The bedroom in Sticky Rice’s Japanese villa.

The bathroom in Sticky Rice’s Japanese villa.

Must-visit in the Adelaide Hills:

Mount Lofty House
Stunning heritage hotel in a stunning location – the perfect retreat after a long day’s wine tasting.
74 Mt Lofty Summit Road, Crafers, South Australia
Phone: 08 8339 6777

Sticky Rice Cooking School and Villas
Learn how to make restaurant-quality Asian food, eat it, and then wander over to your private and exquisitely furnished villa for a luxury stay you won’t forget in a hurry.
96 Old Mt Barker Road, Stirling, South Australia
Phone: 08 8339 1314

Bridgewater Mill
Lunch doesn’t get much better than a meal on the balcony of this divine restaurant, housed in an historic 1860s flour mill alongside Petaluma’s Cellar Door.
Mt Barker Road, Bridgewater, South Australia
Phone: 08 8339 9200

Hahndorf Hill Winery
The chocovino chocolate and wine tasting is a must!
38 Pains Road, Hahndorf, South Australia
Phone: 08 8388 7512

Rich & Lingering
Choose from a selection of popular itineraries or create your own personalised tour of the region with wine expert Jason Miller.
Phone: 1300 707 000

Shaw and Smith
Another excellent winery with tastings paired with local cheeses.
136 Jones Road, Balhannah, South Australia
Phone: 08 8398 0500

Red Cacao
Hand-crafted artisan chocolates with hot drinks to-die-for in the picturesque town of Stirling.
Shop 3, 41 Mt Barker Road, Stirling, South Australia
Phone: 0434 938 107

News Reviews

Our Luxury Foodie retreat by Yahoo travel


Sticky Rice Villas: The ultimate foodie retreat


Link to live article on Yahoo 7


January 28, 2014, 2:05 pm Karen Lawson Yahoo!7

If there is a food lover in your life, this is your ticket to winning their most ‘Popular Person of the Year’ year award. I tend to stay clear of establishments with the words ’sticky’ in it, but this is one place that breaks the norm. Off the radar, it’s a new kind of escape that raises the bar of luxury and private dining.

If you’ve been to Bali, you’ll ‘get’ the private villa concept, Australia hasn’t really cottoned on to this kind of stay. Sure, there are lots of hotels, B&B’s and rental accommodation options, but in the unlikely tropical spot of Adelaide, Sticky Rice Villas provides the ultimate foodie retreat (pow – take that you surfers, yogis and mediation gurus – we now have a place to stay too!).

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

Picking up my rental car, Adelaide hills is a short 20 min journey. Situated in Stirling, Mr G and I pull up at the famous, award-winning Sticky Rice Cooking School where the whole concept started. If running one of the top six cooking schools in the country wasn’t enough stress, Claire Fuller decided she wanted to use the land (not for a farm, shock horror) to create three luxury hideaways.

What sets this stay apart is the uncompromising detail in the architecture, design and finish. It’s not hiring a room but a home, each villa escaping you into a different world, be it Yoko (Japan), Zen (Modern) or Bali (er yep! it’s Balinese). Our home for the night was Yoko. I can’t help getting nostalgic that Tetsuya actually stayed here, if I rub up and down against the Electrolux induction stove will some of his culinary magic will rub off?

The moment the Yoko door is opened, it takes a while for us to take it all in.

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

The landscaped garden is dominated by an impressive white stone Japanese sculpture, red maples, white pebble stones and stepping stones lead to our sliding front door. Perhaps I should have practiced my ‘wax on, wax off’ Karate Kid moves?

The villa is floor to ceiling glass, creating a timeless illusion of villa and garden merging two worlds. Doors open up into the lounge, like a lovesick puppy I am all over the kitchen like Kim Kardashian and Kanye! Oooh it’s a black sleek island, glimmering from down lights. I am simultaneously pulling out soft-close doors and marvelling at all the gadgets, including the impressive space shuttle-like range hood.

The fridge. Now most of us have had that sinking feeling when you open up hotel room fridge and it looks like the dishevelled home of a 15 year old teenager; snickers, alcohol and nothing life sustaining. Not here! I am pulling out luxury item after another, Le Petit Prince Chevre, Harris smokehouse salmon, Skara smoked prosciutto, organic yoghurts, eggs, tomatoes and lemons. It’s all ours! There is a sourdough loaf, plus assorted pastries wrapped for the morning. Oh and some Whisk & Pin muesli if that’s not enough. Is it wrong to be looking forward to breakfast when you haven’t eaten dinner?

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

The bedroom looks like it could be cast out of a scene of the last Wolverine movie (in a good way). Beautifully carved tatami screens give way to a low bed with black pendant lights, a chaise lounge in the corner looking out onto the expanse of Japanese gardens. Who pulls blinds anymore? Not us! Technological advancements of electronic screens mean that I can lay on the bed and play with them going up and down. There’s a certain childish delight in the pure luxury of it all. High tech is a consistent theme throughout the villas, even our ginormous TV screen is 3D; it’s really quite amusing to look at Mr G with his glasses on. Mr Bean I presume?

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

The bathroom continues the soft wood lines with a deep bath, waterfall spout, double rainwater showers and Kudos spa toiletries.

At 7pm our doorbell goes and it’s our private chef for the night, Yukiko. One of the many unique elements about a stay here is the chance for you to be cooked for in your home. With a choice of menu which we collaborated on prior to our stay, it’s a stressful moment to know whether the seared scallops or sautéed king prawns are going to be the best choice. Within moments Yuki is whizzing up a storm, lining up all the ingredients – including the star feature, local wine! Our wine degustation includes a lovely citrusy pinot gris from Deviation Road, Dowie Doole Chenin Blanc from Mclaren Vale, and a superb Bendbrook Rose from the Adelaide Hills. We are sitting up at the island table like children watching their mum cook. It’s exciting, relaxing and incredibly intimate. Cooking class and dinner all in one!

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

After steaming chicken dumplings Yuki serves it with a delicious soy lime dipping sauce. Yuki explains that the kind of flour used in frying for Thai food is important, dropping sections of Barramundi into hot oil, whilst assembling a green mango salad balanced with fish sauce and lime for our entree. The main is the holy grail of every Thai curry lover – Green chicken curry. What’s the secret to a great curry? You have to boil the coconut milk till it splits (which is an agonizingly long time to wait) but it’s an excuse to crack open a stunner of a wine, a Dowie Doole G&T Garnacha Tempranillo. It has beautiful persistent fruit and is absolutely unstoppable drinking! The home-made paste made just hours ago in the cooking school delivers a new dimension of flavour balancing the bitterness of the apple eggplants creating a dish worthy of any hatted restaurant.

Yuki cleans everything up then discreetly leaves us to dine (and drink) in privacy. Like all good chefs, she has the final element of surprise… we retire to the sofa and tuck into silky coconut sticky rice topped with mango and toasted mung beans.

Normally we would be thinking of grabbing a cab, fighting through the crowds on the street but not here. Just five footsteps and we fall into our king-size bed for a deliriously great night’s sleep. You can keep your yoga retreats and surfing camps; this foodie boot camp is the ultimate gourmet weekender.

Find out more: – We chose Yoko Villa

Need a hire car? Make sure you check out – half the cost and double the cover!

Read more of Karen’s adventures on

News Reviews

Local SA Produce cooked by Tetsuya at Sticky Rice

City Messenger was impressed by the local produce used in our masterclass with Tetsutya in Oct 2013.

Master Chefs News Reviews

5 Star accommodation reviews SA Weekender

We got a raving review in November with this article on our Luxury accommodation. Thanks SA Weekender.

Adelaide Hills Accommodation News

Tetsuya at Sticky Rice Cooking School

Australian Traveller Magazine attended our very special Masterclass with Tetsuya. Read their article.

and watch their footage of Tetsuya in action here on You Tube.