While summer is the season of socially acceptable day-drinking and festive over-eating, its also a chance to knuckle down and learn a new skill. Make the most of your holidays with the useful, weird and creative classes and workshops Melbourne has to offer.
Learn how to break down and cook beef like a pro. During the three-hour, hands-on workshop you’ll watch a butchering demonstration, learn about little-known cuts, and wield a knife to prepare a joint of beef to take home. Afterwards, you’ll share a big feast with matching wine or beer. The boning knife, apron and some organic beef all go home with you, too.
Where: Hagen’s Organic Butcher
When: February 4 and 11
Making dumplings isn’t hard once you get the hang of it. With teacher Lou Wong, you’ll learn to make a few kinds, including prawn and vegetable dumplings; siu mai, and pearl balls (tiny meatballs rolled in sweet, glossy rice, then steamed). You’ll also learn to make wrappers. Then, you eat your hard work.
Where: The Neff Market Kitchen.
When: February 4
Find a little slice of Italy in Richmond at La Cucina di Sandra, home of owner and chef Sandra del Greco. Learn to make traditional and authentic Italian comfort food in an intimate setting as Sandra takes you through a three-course meal complete with wine and take-away recipe cards. You’ll learn an entrée, main and dessert recipe, as well as where to source the best and most authentic ingredients in town.
Where: La Cucina di Sandra.
When: February 7
If you want to know anything about brewing, roasting or making coffee, Market Lane is the master. The intimate classes are on topics such as espresso making and brewing at home (methods include pour-over, Aeropress and plunger). There are also a couple of full-day classes on roasting.
Learn the ropes with the expert bartenders at 1806. Its two-hour cocktail classes take you through techniques and ingredients involved in the making of two classic cocktails. The set cocktails change depending on the day, but feel free to pick their bartenders’ brains. Drinks are included in the price and packages including food are also available.
When: Everyday from 5pm (except December 24 to January 5)
Cost: $50–$80 per person
A book club of sorts (sans the books), MMEETS’s This is Not a Book Club is a forum to discuss and dissect culture in a relaxed, engaging and non-elitist environment. Join i-D Australia editor Wendy Syfret as she covers a range of topical pop culture that even the busiest person can engage with.
When: January 14, February 11
If you don’t feel comfortable around semi-colons, or you just want to sharpen your grammar skills, this two-day intensive is for you. Learn how to flawlessly build sentences, use punctuation and give your writing the finesse it deserves.
Where: The Good Copy
When: January 20–21
Not for the faint of heart (or stomach), this introductory taxidermy workshop will take you through this fascinating art form and teach you the basic techniques. Learn how to skin, preserve and mount your creature into your own take-home work of art.
Where: Northcote, Melbourne
When: February 5
Inspired by the tailoring and craftsmanship of Viktor & Rolf, learn how to create your own pleated-fabric lampshade. Nikki Lawrence, the artist and designer behind Melbourne-based label Three Fold Studio, will show you how to use traditional knife-pleating techniques that you can apply to a range of upholstery and sewing projects.
Where: NGV International
When: January 21
Create your own modernist drawing in a class inspired by the artists featured in Heide’s Making Modernism exhibition: Georgia O'Keeffe, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith. BYO sketchbook.
Where: Heide Museum of Modern Art
When: January 17
Cost: adult $25, concession $22