Enjoy restaurant-worthy meals, inventive cocktails and fine wines, without leaving your home with our pick of some of the best virtual cooking classes.
Your favourite restaurants, bars, cellar doors and food markets may not reopen for a while but that doesn’t mean you can’t taste their dishes, wines and cocktails at home. Some of Australia’s – and the world’s – leading chefs, winemakers and restaurateurs have risen to the Covid-19 challenge, with virtual cooking classes, wine-appreciation sessions and cocktail-making hours that’ll take you to wherever you want to go – Italy, Peru or Thailand – without leaving your home.
Italian classics with Tipico
Want your gnocchi, tiramisu and pizza to taste as good as they do at Melbourne restaurant Tipico? Simply tune in to their online masterclasses, held via Zoom on most Saturdays from 11am. If you live within a 10km radius of the restaurant’s Windsor location, you can sign up by paying $45-$60 (depending on the class), for which you’ll receive a box of ingredients delivered to your doorstep, plus entry to the Zoom cooking class. If you live further afield, you can still be part of the Zoom class by paying $25-$40 – you’ll just have to buy your own ingredients. It’s pizza “Saturday” on 9 May, Tiramisu on 23 May and gnocchi on 6 June. For more cooking classes and to book, visit the restaurant’s website.
World fare with Atlas Dining
Hatted Melbourne restaurant Atlas Dining has gone a step further, with the launch of Atlas Masterclass. Each week the restaurant homes in on a different cuisine – it could be Thai this week, Peruvian the next – with head chef Charlie Carrington demonstrating three recipes per week through video tutorials. The recipes and videos are published on the website and anyone can buy their own ingredients and create the dishes at home (yes, for free!). But if you live in Melbourne, the restaurant can shop, prepare and deliver the ingredients to your home for $49 for three meals for one person. The price is $79 for a couple, $99 for a family of four and $139 for a group of six. In the first week of May, the restaurant is focusing on French cuisine, followed by Brazialian, Thai and Chinese.
A taste of Vietnam and Cambodia with David Thompson
Australian chef David Thompson, the founder of Long Chim in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, is famous for launching one of the world’s most renowned Thai restaurants, Nahm in Bangkok. But he’s just as deft at dishing up Cambodian and Vietnamese classics. Luxury small ship operator Aqua Expeditions has roped him in to demonstrate dishes on the company’s Facebook (@AquaExpeditions) and Instagram (aqua_expeditions) accounts. The live demo is part of the cruise line’s online masterclass series, which features the company's consulting chefs from time to time. Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino conducted a class on 3 April, while Benjamin Cross appeared on 1 May. You can catch David Thompson live on 1 June from 2am (AEST) but the videos remain available after the demonstration so you can also hone your skills another time.
Wine masterclass with NWC
It’s not just about food – vignerons are going virtual, too. Take, for instance, the folks at SA’s National Wine Centre of Australia, who are running wine masterclasses on Thursdays from 8pm to 10pm via Zoom. Each week, they zero in on a region, picking six wines from six different wineries. Signing up for the masterclass costs $40-$70 depending on the region and – for a small fee – NWC will deliver the wines to your home, no matter where in Australia you are. Then, all you have to do is tune in to the Zoom masterclass and enjoy the drops at a leisurely pace with the winemakers and other connoisseurs. Most masterclasses sell out as soon as they go on sale so plan ahead and keep an eye on the website.
Seafood soirées with Sydney Fish Market
Sydney Seafood School – the cooking school of Sydney Fish Market – has been running live demos for years. Now, with their SSS@Home series, they’ve taken their classes online. For $45 Sydneysiders can pick up an SSS@Home kit – comprising a recipe and ingredients – from Sydney Fish Market or select Harris Farm Markets located in different parts of the city. The kits are available on Friday mornings and users also receive a link to an instructional video on YouTube. The kit, which is $45, feeds two. People living within a 15km radius of Sydney Fish Market at Pyrmont can also pay $19 to have the kit delivered. At the moment, the service is only available to Sydneysiders but the company is looking at expanding its reach. Watch this space.
How about a cooking class in Austin?
You may not be able to travel to the US but you can visit Texas with a “virtual” lesson. Simply sign up for a cooking class with Austin’s eco-conscious restaurant Intero. Classes start at US$65 and can accommodate a group of up to six people, who can all join the live demo from their respective homes via Zoom or Skype. At the time of booking, you can choose the dish you want to cook from the restaurant’s menu and the time at which you want to schedule the class. You can even pick a chef if you like from a list of the restaurant’s employees. A list of ingredients will be emailed to you so all you have to do is shop, sign in to your online appointment and cook.
Cocktail hour with Reed & Co
Victoria’s High Country has launched online classes covering everything the region is renowned for. If you’re craving its food, you can sign up for a gnocchi-making class. If you’re missing its wines and beers, you can opt for a virtual tasting session. You can even create a mini-spa at home, by following Spa Beechworth’s foot therapy Zoom class. But our pick of the bunch is the cocktail-making class with distillery Reed & Co. The 40-50-minute-long Zoom sessions cost $45 per person (minimum group size is four), start at 4pm on Fridays and feature bartender Adam Eaton, who teaches guests how to make cocktails like the Quarantini, Negroni and Nightwalker. The price includes event packs (which the guests receive at their home ahead of the class), complete with everything you need to knock out stellar cocktails.