So, you’ve been tasked with trawling the internet for work Christmas party ideas, looking for something that ticks all the boxes: team building, fun, affordability and a format that suits all personality types. Thankfully everyone has a universal love of food, which is why these corporate cooking classes in Melbourne are the perfect way to get the whole team involved, engaged and actually having a good time at the end of year celebrations.
It's been a hard year with the pandemic and many of your colleagues are likely eager to get out and socialise in a safe way. At these top cooking schools in Melbourne, when the cooking comes to an end and the dishes are plated up, you’ll all have the chance to sit down and enjoy a delicious meal and socialise with some people you might not usually get to speak to (especially after months of remote working!)
Still not sold on the idea? Well, science says that cooking has a whole host of benefits to your workforce other than just enjoying a delicious meal at the end of it. According to HuffPost, cooking for others can help with bonding, boost self-esteem and confidence and can even present an opportunity to engage in accidental mindfulness, making it a much more fulfilling Christmas party than downing a few drinks and awkwardly mingling. Here’s a roundup of some of the best cooking classes in Melbourne for your work Christmas party.
Best for: The Health Conscious Workforce (Vegan-friendly)
Cost: $172 - $180
If health, wellness or ethical consumption are key values in your workplace, treat your team to a plant-based food party. This South-East Asian cooking class with Steph Schall tackles classic dishes with a plant-based twist. This class is a great entry point for anyone embarking on a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle and it may even convert some die-hard meat-eaters. Over the course of the session, your team will not only learn how to prepare delicious South-East Asian dishes like Thai Pad See Ew and glazed mushroom Banh Mi but they’ll also sit down at the end in a casual, family-style meal setting, the perfect opportunity for some team bonding and a boost in workplace wellbeing.
Best for: Laid Back Laughs (Pescetarian-friendly)
Location: Fitzroy North
If your staff love the iconic Australian tradition of fresh seafood at Christmas and are looking to have a few drinks, cook up some simple but delicious food and just unwind and enjoy each other’s company, this is the class for you. Located at the Terminus Hotel in Fitzroy North, this class will cover everything from rubs to marinades and will have everyone getting hands-on with a pair of tongs. The session starts with some simple snacks and culminates in an epic seafood feast accompanied by a range of well-matched Audrey Wilkinson & Cockfighters Ghost Wines.
If your workforce is always looking to try new things, they’ll love this authentic middle eastern cooking class. Your team will learn how to make traditional rice, garlic chicken and tabouli as well as sampling some Lebanese coffee, tea and sweets, before taking a tour through the on-site gourmet grocery store. This class is a great option because it’s a fun fusion of demonstration and hands-on prep time so if anyone doesn’t want to get involved they can sit back and enjoy the class, and the delicious feast at the end!
Best for: Picky Eaters (Can be GF, Vegan and Vegetarian-friendly on request)
Who doesn’t like Italian food? If you’re catering to lots of different tastes and dietary requirements and you want to be sure that there’s something for everyone, opt for this classic Italian pizza, risotto and pasta making class. After settling in with a drink on arrival, the team will dive right into making their own dough and learning to cook with fresh garlic, olive oil, cheeses and cured meats to create homemade sauces and fresh pizza and pasta (or risotto and gnocchi for the gluten-free amongst you). At the end of it all, you'll sit down to enjoy a delicious and traditional Italian family feast.
Best for: Creating a Family Feel
Focusing on family-style Greek cooking, this in-depth class with The Hellenic Odyssey is all about using food to bring people together, creating a sense of community and reflecting on the way food evokes emotions and memories. The menu for the day is based on the Mediterranean diet so come expecting lots of olive oil, fresh salads and grilled protein. Your team will create hearty home-style dishes they may never have heard of and at the end, they’ll sit down and break bread together. What better way to celebrate the end of another year! This class is perfect for small teams to create an intimate and home-style feel.
Best for: High Energy, Light-Hearted Fun
Location: South Yarra
Fast-paced, fun and delicious, this hands-on gnocchi making class will have your team rolling up their sleeves and kneading dough like there's no tomorrow! They’ll be led through the entire process from making the gnocchi dough, right through to cooking the sauce before sitting down and enjoying the spoils of their toils alongside some coffee and other refreshments. Spend some quality time with your colleagues in the kitchen sharing stories and exchanging cooking traditions.
Best for: The Party People
Cost: $120 for the Banquet package
If you can’t picture your workplace getting behind a few hours in the kitchen and think they'd rather learn how to mix, muddle and stir your way to deliciousness, try this cocktail making class at the buzzy Asian eatery Rice Paper Scissors. This fun class will kick-off with a glass of prosecco and a canape so that everyone has a chance to catch up and mingle before the cocktail making session gets serious. Everyone will have the chance to make and drink two signature cocktails, and if you add on the banquet option, at the end of the class everyone can sit down for an epic five-course spread – the spoils of a cooking class but without the actual cooking!