Cooking schools and gourmet retreats in South Australia

3 October 2009

South Australia ( is a gourmand’s dream offering an abundance of first class eateries, food and wine trails, markets bustling with fresh local produce and numerous cooking schools offering the opportunity of being tutored by top Australian chefs, a few of which are highlighted here.


- Rosa Matto Cooking School - South Australian chef Rosa Matto has been hosting cooking classes with an Italian twist since 1989, giving lessons from her custom-built open studio kitchen in Goodwood. Rosa’s classes are very hands-on and range from sauce, bread and pasta making to full dinner party menus. Students use fresh, local produce and get to taste each other’s creations. Rosa also conducts Central Market tours, the culinary heart of Adelaide where visitors shop for ingredients before heading back to the kitchen to prepare a multicultural feast.

- Outdoors on Parade - This ‘groovy’ homeware and lifestyle shop in Norwood, five minutes east of the city, runs regular scheduled cooking classes with chefs brought in from top restaurants from around South Australia.

- Imma & Mario’s Mercato - Talented Adelaide chefs reveal their secrets and tips inspiring guests to cook up a delicious feast of their own. Meals include a variety of traditional, authentic and modern meals that are easy to prepare. Sampling South Australian wines is also an integral element of each class.

- The Bottega Rotolo Cooking School , one of Adelaide’s premier fine food merchants providing premium quality food products from South Australia and around the world, also has a hands-on cooking school. ‘To The Plate’ is a great way to learn new kitchen skills as the classes are based on traditional and authentic European and Asian cuisine featuring Adelaide’s finest chefs.

- The Hilton Adelaide - ‘The Brasserie’ team offer an entertaining dining experience at a ‘Seriously South Australian’ cooking demonstration. Guests are wined and dined as the team demonstrates how each course is made, offering insiders' tips and industry secrets. Perfect for beginners or more advanced cooks, guests also sample a three-course dinner including paired wines from the region.

- The Grange – Cheong’s Kitchen Table - The father of fusion cuisine, mixing French technique with Asian flair, Cheong Liew has defined his innovative style as ‘East meets West’. Private experiences in the Grange Kitchen with Cheong include seeing what goes on behind the scenes, being a part of the action and enjoying a menu of Cheong's creations. ‘The Kitchen Table’ is available Wednesday to Friday and can seat four to eight people.


- Sticky Rice Cooking School offers hands-on cooking classes helping visitors to create restaurant quality meals with tuition provided by Australia’s masters of Asian cuisine.

- The Udder Delights cheese making school and cheese cellar door offers daily cheese tastings and sales.


- Verjuice Workshops with Maggie Beer - Maggie Beer is one of Australia’s favourite cooks, cookery writers and a pioneering champion of Barossa regional cuisine. Maggie’s Barossa farm shop offers daily verjuice cooking demonstrations at 2pm. Visitors to the farm shop will also find Maggie's gourmet products and award-winning books. Maggie’s cooking, using mainly local produce, has been pivotal in the development of South Australia’s regional cuisine. Her pheasant pate, verjuice and quince paste are exported around the world. Bookings essential.

- The Barossa Valley Cheese Company also offers cheese-making courses that include lunch with wine.


- Thorn Park by the Vines offers cooking classes for groups of two to four house guests staying for two nights. The hands on classes feature fresh ingredients and quality produce and are conducted over a few days.


- Chapel Hill Winery Gourmet Retreat is an epicurean getaway catering exclusively for residential guests in a rural vineyard environment with views of the sea. Its facilities include ten luxuriously appointed bedrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen and magnificent recreation areas featuring a wood oven and barbeque on the terrace. Chapel Hill also runs hands-on cooking classes in the Gourmet Retreat Kitchen where guests can learn to prepare magnificent dishes using fresh local produce before savouring the flavours and textures of the food, matched with Chapel Hill wines.

- Blessed Cheese runs fantastic cheese and chocolate making courses from its shop in the McLaren Vale (

- Alternatively cheese and wine lovers can follow the McLaren Vale Cheese and Wine Trail.


- 2 Birds and a Squid - Strange name, delicious food! 2 Birds and a Squid is the brainchild of renowned chef Sue Pearson who moved from the UK to Kangaroo Island in 2000 and has been cooking up mouth-watering gourmet catering packages and picnics ever since. She has expanded her business to include Fish a gourmet fish cafe at Penneshaw. Twice a year Maeve O’Meara and Sue Pearson team up to offer “Gourmet Safaris” ( around Kangaroo Island where guests can meet the producers, taste the produce and get plenty of ‘behind secret doors’ experiences. The next gourmet safari will be held from 16-21 November 09.

- LifeTime Private Retreats - Packages can include not only cooking lessons but also yoga, meditation, croquet, massages, mud treatments, diving and fishing expeditions.


- A Taste of South Australia offers a series of extended cooking school tours for couples and groups are available including day trips to Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills, the Barossa and Mclaren Vale; overnight tours to Adelaide, the Barossa, Clare Valley, Mclaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.

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