1 May - By Martina Taeker
The best way to learn a new skill in the kitchen is to do it yourself: This is the philosophy behind the series of hands-on cooking classes co-hosted by TAFE SA’s Regency International Centre and The Advertiser as part of Tasting Australia.
The L Plates program, held on Saturday April 29, offered participants the opportunity to learn culinary skills from several well-known SA chefs and food identities, including Tasting Australia creative director Simon Bryant and Kris Lloyd of Woodside Cheese Wrights.
Classes covered cuisines from Mexico to Thailand and Italy, including salads, tagines, and family brunch favourites. Eddie Ye (Yakitori Takumi) introduced his students to the exotic world of Japanese stews and pasta, while Matt Standen (Pink Moon Saloon) shared his secrets for successful grilling, smoking and slow cooking. Karena Armstrong (The Salopian Inn) had her students expertly pinch-folding their prawn and spring onion dumplings in less time than it took to eat the finished product. Brad Sappenberghs (Comida) taught students to grill his dish Squid Tagliatelle, which converted the non-squid eaters and had everyone drooling for more.
With a maximum class size of 16, participants received personal attention from the guest chef teaching their class. This gave each person time to ask questions and get advice about solving specific kitchen problems – a highlight of the L Plates program. TAFE SA staff and students provided extra support during the classes, allowing participants to concentrate on improving their kitchen skills without needing to spend valuable time on basic preparation tasks or cleaning up.
“TAFE SA is really proud to host the L Plates program,” said Rosanna McDonald, Lecturer in Hospitality and Cookery at TAFE SA. “To have South Australia’s finest chefs share their culinary skills and expertise matches our philosophy of providing high quality training that brings out the best in our students.”
The Advertiser’s Simon Wilkinson was pleased to have helped approach chefs to teach the L Plates sessions. He said chefs believe strongly in the value of such small, hands-on classes and make every effort to include them into their busy schedules. He stressed that the ability to interact with a chef in the kitchen and practice a culinary skill makes the learning process much more successful and extremely enjoyable.
Participants in this year’s program left their classes with satisfied smiles, improved kitchen skills, and airtight containers full of food to share with family and friends.
Much of Tasting Australia is about eating food, though the particular thrill of the L Plates classes is that you not only eat delicious dishes, but you get to stand in the kitchen alongside your favourite chef and cook with them.