Seeing the northern lights, learning Spanish and taking up surfing are things most of us have fantasised about doing some day. But mastering a specific skill in the kitchen or jumping from novice to aficionado in the bar department is something we can all achieve in the short term.
We’ve wrapped up the best lessons and masterclasses to sign up for now, rather than later.
Keen to share the secrets of Italian cuisine, they’re putting on separate passata, pizza and pappardelle masterclasses. Up next? Pizza.
Kicking off at 10am on Saturday morning, head chef Daniele Colombo will guide you through pizza-making (over a morning espresso), giving you skills that’ll translate to your own oven at home. Get hands on crafting the perfect dough, then work your way through toppings and baking before dining on the fruits of your labour with a glass of wine. You’ll get some dough to take home, too.
In the pappardelle classes, you’ll mix, knead, roll, flatten, fold and cut your way to broad, flat ribbons of fresh pasta, and the passata sessions will take you through the process of making the ultimate pasta and pizza starter sauce. Dates for these classes will be announced soon.
Where: Tipico 242 High Street, Windsor
When: Saturday, September 21, 10am–12pm
Urban Beekeeping at Honey Fingers
Honey Fingers, run by Nic Dowse, is one part small-batch honey producer, one part beekeeping collective. Over two Sundays in September, he’ll be sharing his bee-friendly philosophy and all there is to know about beekeeping. Each six-hour day covers everything from conventional beekeeping methods to whether your backyard is suitable for bees. Then it’s onto tricks, disease identification, swarm catching, hive inspections and honey extraction.
A picnic lunch is provided each day, and Dowse offers a free follow-up session at a later date for those who’d like one. Ten per cent of the course fees go to FareShare, a charity serving 12,000 free meals a day to people in need in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Where: FareShare Kitchen Garden 2–6 Lulie Street, Abbotsford
When: Sunday, September 15 and Sunday, September 22, 10am–4pm
Pasta-Making with Julia Busuttil Nishimura
Making pasta can seem daunting, but it’s much more appealing when Melbourne-based cook and author Julia Busuttil Nishimura, also known as Julia Ostro, is involved. You may have seen her beautiful first cookbook Ostro – full of simple, Maltese and Italian-influenced recipes – in your local bookstore.
Busuttil Nishimura’s three-and-a-half hour pasta classes at Firecracker, an event space in Northcote, are both a chance to learn and to see her in action. On the day, after some cheese and prosecco on arrival, you’ll get to make two types of dough and use several machines and tools to shape it into different styles. To finish, sit down for lunch with the cook and dine on a portion of the pasta made, along with a seasonal dessert and tea or coffee. You’ll leave with recipes and a box of your own freshly made pasta.
Where: Firecracker HQ, 87–88 South Crescent, Northcote
When: Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13 (and other weekends ongoing), 11.00am–2.30pm
Mozzarella and Burrata Cheesemaking Class at The Craft & Co
There’s very little The Craft & Co doesn’t do. The two-storey Collingwood warehouse contains a bar, restaurant, cafe and deli, as well as a distillery, brewery, coffee roastery, bottle shop and cheesemaking room.
Join resident cheesemakers Sabrina and Katia Cappadocio for a mozzarella and burrata class in the micro-dairy. Following a traditional Naples recipe, you’ll work through the basics of cow’s-milk cheese, which lays down the foundations for even more cheesy products. House-brewed beer and wine are served on arrival, along with a cheese plate, charcuterie and pizza to share with the class. Leave with your own freshly made cheese and enough curd knowledge to make it at home.
Where: The Craft & Co, 390 Smith Street, Collingwood
When: Thursday, September 5, 6pm–8pm
Technical Tour at Stomping Ground
If you’ve visited Stomping Ground Brewing Co’s Collingwood warehouse and been intrigued by the bright fermentation tanks beyond the glass-panelled divider, now’s your chance to get a real look-in.
Over three hours, a Stomping Ground brewer and self-described “certified cicerone” (beer expert) will take you through the steps of the beer-making process. You’ll get your hands on the ingredients, learn the ins and outs of brewing and taste-test directly from the tanks before sampling six brews. A shared lunch is provided, and you’ll leave sporting your very own Stomping Ground T-shirt.
Where: Stomping Ground Brewing Co, 100 Gipps Street, Collingwood
When: Saturday, September 14, 12.30pm–3.30pm
Pizza-making at Ladro Tap
Woodfired pizzas star at Prahran’s Ladro Tap, as they do at its Fitzroy sibling established in 2003. Now you can make your own masterpiece at one of the pizza-making sessions, held on the first Tuesday of every month.
Before getting stuck into making dough, a Spritz is in order, served with a few light snacks. After mixing, kneading, throwing and adding your preferred toppings, your pizza is cooked and served with salads and a glass of beer or wine. There’ll be enough dough left over to take home, but you’ll need to BYO apron.
Where: Ladro Tap, 162 Greville Street, Prahran
When: The first Tuesday of every month, 6.30pm–8pm
Intro to Butchery at Hagen’s Organic Butcher
Hagen’s Organic Butcher has been serving ethically produced meat since 1999, with shops in Bentleigh and Richmond, and at the Queen Vic, Prahran and South Melbourne Markets. Now it’s introduced beef butchery classes at its Richmond HQ.
After an overview of provenance, slaughter and storage, butcher and owner Oliver Hagen will show you how to break down a side of beef, talking you through each prime cut. The night concludes with a meal and a beer or glass of wine, and you’ll walk away with your newfound knowledge, a boning knife, an apron and the meat you’ve just prepared.
Where: Hagen’s Organics HQ, 52 Lennox Street, Richmond
When: September 25, October 16, October 30, November 13 (all Wednesdays), 6pm–9pm
Breaducation at Phillippa’s
At a time when low-carb diets are more popular than ever, bread cops a bad rap. But when it’s made well, it’s not the health enemy it’s often made out to be. Well-recognised for its stellar bread, pastries and provisions, Phillippa’s is running bread-education sessions to correct the course.
The Armadale store will host sourdough-making lessons where you’ll learn how to make a starter and keep it alive. There’ll also be a discussion about selecting the best flour, and you’ll learn how to mix, knead, shape and prove your dough. Walk out with the bread you made, leftover dough, and a starter to continue the process at home. Classes are kept to 10 people, and a light supper and a glass of wine are part of the package.
Where: Phillippa’s Armadale, 1030 High Street, Armadale
When: Thursday, August 29, 6pm–9pm