TRENTHAM | Tony Tan’s Cooking School is the new project from one of Australia’s most highly regarded chefs and teachers, Tony Tan. Held at Tony’s recently renovated home in Trentham, guests can journey though the cuisines and culinary traditions of East and Southeast Asia.
Born into a restaurant-owning family in Kuantan, on the east coast of Malaysia, food was always going to be a big part of Tony’s life. He grew up around food, and trained in France and England, before going on to open several top Melbourne and Sydney’s restaurants. In the early 2000s, Tony set up his cooking school in Toorak, before closing it to focus on his writing, and hosting multi-day food tours in places like Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, and Spain.
The pandemic put pause on these tours, and for the past two years, Tony has been renovating the Trentham house that he moved into, building a state-of-the-art kitchen, and working on his food forest, garden beds, and hen house, which will one day provide much of what is used in the cooking school.
Tony’s classes are run on Saturdays, and are kept to a maximum of eight guests to ensure that everyone gets an intimate, hands on experience. Classes have different themes, with an overarching focus on ‘Asian culinary excellence with a modern edge’.
When I visited, we cooked a feast based on, but not limited to, dishes from Tony’s 2017 cookbook, ‘Hong Kong Food City’. Dishes included Tony’s famous char sui (BBQ pork), slow cooked boned chicken with fragrant stuffing, chiu chow dumplings, wontons with chilli oil sauce (hong you chao shou), Sichuan dry-fried green beans, typhoon shelter prawns, Chinese olive fried rice, and chilled mango, sago, pomelo, and coconut soup. It was all divine. Full recipe cards to take home are provided.
Each session runs for five-hours, starting at 10am, and ending with a sit-down multi-course lunch matched with local wines. Throughout the five hours, Tony shares stories, and teaches you not just how to cook each dish, but its history, and the importance of the quality and provenance of each ingredient used. You’ll learn what to look for when buying the ingredients yourself, and various kitchen tips and tricks, that you can use for more than just the dishes you learn how to cook on the day.
Tony Tan’s Cooking School
Telephone: (03) 5223 2623