13 cooking classes to master in and around Brisbane
Does the thought of hosting a dinner party make you wilt faster than a basil leaf in a Brisbane kitchen? Have you lost your mojo to come up with clever new weekday meals?
Whether you’re a wizard when it comes to Insta-worthy creations or a toasted sandwich kinda chef, your kitchen will rule after signing up to one of these hands-on cooking classes, all within a few hours of Brisbane.
1. Spirit House, Yandina, Sunshine Coast
Expect a little spice when you book a class at Spirit House. Located just off the Bruce Highway, two hours north of Brisbane and about 20 minutes inland from Noosa, total immersion in nature also awaits. Oozing oriental charm, the alfresco restaurant is nestled amongst towering bamboo trees and a picturesque lotus pond.
If you love the flavours of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, but the daunting recipes make you run for your Uber Eats app, this cooking school is for you. They aim to serve up a basic knowledge of Asian ingredients and methods, with classes including ‘Gluten Free Asian’, ‘Asian Shared Table’ and ‘One Bowl Wonders’.
At the end of your four-hour session, you can wash the fruits of your hard work down with free wine and beer!
2. Life’s a Feast Cooking School, Noosaville
For a homely vibe, this boutique cooking school is housed in a… well, a private house, a few minutes’ drive from Noosa’s Main Beach.
The freshly-baked muffins on arrival give you a taste of owner and teacher Gail Rast’s cooking style – that is, effortless, wholesome and crowd-pleasing. Her class options take you on a global tasting experience, from authentic American barbecue cuisine to flavoursome Moroccan feasts and advanced pasta-making.
But Gail’s teachings involve more than just a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that; at Life’s A Feast you’ll also score piping hot tips on menu planning, food and wine pairing, and food presentation. We guarantee your knife-cutting skills will go up a notch or four under her careful tuition.
3. James St Cooking School, New Farm, Brisbane
This Brisbane institution was serving up culinary lessons long before James Street emerged as a cool dining (slash everything) hub.
With super fresh ingredients at your disposal, the chefs at James St Cooking School encourage you to get messy. Forget just tasting; these guys are big on touching and smelling the food to really get absorbed in the cooking process.
Although they cover a bunch of different cuisines, their most popular class is ‘Fast and Furious Seafood’ – think pan-fried fish in bush spice or prawn cutlets poached in coconut milk. Delish!
4. Wild Lime Cooking School, Scenic Rim
Who cares about food when the scenery is this tasty? Ninety minutes’ drive south west of Brisbane is The Lost World Valley, an inspiration for your taste buds encircled by the dramatic ranges of Lamington National Park.
For a true gourmet getaway with friends, attend one of the monthly Wild Lime Cooking School classes, then spend the night at the delightful homestead next door and wake up to the bleating sounds of roving sheep.
The focus here is on using local produce to create everyday dishes that are elevated to perfection. Learn how to make leek-wrapped scallops, mint couscous with native greens or lamb shoulder with fig paste, and sit back on the huge balcony to drink in the country scenery while you devour it.
If you’re travelling with kids, the local homestay operators work in unison, so you can drop them off at nearby Cedar Glen Farmstay for horse riding and milking cows while you create grown-up flavours.
5. Vanilla Zulu, Teneriffe, Brisbane
A modern set-up, this Teneriffe school for culinary adventures is run by Zimbabwe-born Melanie Townsend, who has travelled the world to bring foodie tricks to Brisbane.
Perfect for the reluctant cooks and shy bench-sitters, Vanilla Zulu is all about giving you a hefty dose of confidence, while showing that you can pull together gourmet meals without losing too much precious Netflix time over a hot stove.
Classes run two to four days a week, and the list is pretty extensive with a focus on rustic Italian or vegan one day and meat lover’s or pastries the next. Or, for the ambitious, Melanie also runs a six-week chef skills course.
6. The Golden Pig, Newstead, Brisbane
Take a funky warehouse in inner-city Newstead, add a plethora of premium chefs, and you’ve got Brisbane’s edgiest cooking school.
The groups at The Golden Pig are big, but so too are the flavours. Whip up a classic beef pho from scratch in the new ‘Vietnamese Soups & Noodles’ class, trim beef like a real chef in ‘Kitchen Essentials’, or learn to preserve and cure pork in the ‘Pork Charcuterie Class’. Bread and pastry on your learn-to-master list? They’ve got classes for that too.
A big supporter of local, small-scale producers, there’s also a coffee bar, lounge, rear BBQ deck and retail goodies to browse.
7. Tenteram Cooking School, Gold Coast
If you’re on a mission to be a bit more #health focussed in the kitchen, then a four-hour class at Tenteram, and its lush Bali-inspired property in the Currumbin Valley, is the place to start.
Owners Kay and Justin have a passion for Indonesian cuisine – and creating healthier versions of it. The bench tops here might be sans refined sugars, fish sauce and white rice, but the dishes you create are so bursting with rich (and medicinal) flavours that your palate will be none the wiser.
They also sell their own gourmet product range, Tenteram Fine Foods, that you can stock up on before you leave.
6 more cooking classes to get your kitchen cred soaring
- Tamarind Cooking School, Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Maleny
Take the lead from expert chefs in a beautiful rainforest setting at this Sunshine Coast delight. Cuisines include French, Italian and Thai.
- Norman Hotel, Brisbane
With their 20 years of meat-flipping, this is the number one place to learn how to fire up the grill in a two-hour Mastersteak BBQ cooking class.
- The Jam Pantry, Greenslopes (Brisbane)
Fancy yourself a kombucha fiend? Upgrade (or get introduced to) your pickling and fermenting skills with monthly workshops here.
- My Thai Kitchen, Auchenflower (Brisbane)
The sumptuous flavours that come out of this kitchen also fill the cooking classroom, led by the restaurant’s chef Taya Meeikeaw.
- The Sauce Kitchen, Toowoomba
This foodie haven sits within a heritage building and offers a range of classes from baking and Asian cooking to coffee education.
- Mecca Bah, Brisbane and Gold Coast
For pizza-making lessons with a twist, head to this Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired restaurant. Competitive cooks, take note: Prizes are up for grabs!