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Back in the classroom

Julie-anne Sprague goes back to school this week and finds a new way to entertain corporate clients in a setting flexible enough to suit individual needs.

SOME of Perth’s most renowned cooking schools have come up with a new way to entertain business clients.

While taking your clients out to learn how to cook might sound absurd, or a little insulting, the idea is really quite clever.

Three Perth cooking schools in particular have strong relationships with chefs around town, including chefs from highly renowned Perth restaurants.

These culinary creators donate their time to come out to the cooking school to teach a group of about 20 corporate folk the art of their trade.

In essence, you could take these 20 clients to dinner at Frasers, Balthazar, Star Anise, LinQ, The Red Herring, Must Wine Bar or Monza. But, in reality, how much client liaising can really be done? Sure you’re enjoying a good meal in a terrific setting, but who hasn’t?

Upper Crust Cooking School owner Helen Slattery says corporate classes are popular because they are a unique way to enjoy food and wine.

“It’s something totally different for people, whether they are entertaining clients or rewarding staff,” she says.

“They get to choose the cuisine and the dishes on the menu, so there is a lot of choice. We print out all the recipes, they get to watch and learn how the chef prepares the dishes, taste the dishes and enjoy some of the wine while it’s all happening.”

Olgivies owner Jan Westerberg agrees that the classes work well for the corporate market because they can tailor a class to suit individual needs.

“They can choose a night, which doesn’t clash with our ordinary classes, choose the style of food they want and we’ll approach the chef,” she says.

Perth’s longest surviving cooking school, Amano, offers not just demonstration classes but speciality and hands-on classes and owner Bev Sprague says cooking classes provide the perfect environment for breaking the ice

“If the aim of the exercise is to get people to lose their inhibitions then this certainly works,” she says.

“We have developed and maintained a strong client base and work with high-profile chefs. Our kitchen was purpose built for cooking classes and this is why we function well as a cooking school.”

To maintain this environment, numbers are limited to about 20 people.

“We try not to fill them up too much. It’s easier for people to interact and ask questions,” Ms Slattery says.

These classes do prove popular and, because of the organisation involved, it’s best to book these classes well in advance. That way you’ll have a greater choice of cuisine and chef.

Ms Satterly says all the chefs she works with provide the edge of entertainment that makes cooking classes a unique and fun way to spoil clients, friends or staff.

“The chefs are what really makes the classes. Everyone gets to try their food and they are really good fun to watch,” she says.

Amano Cooking School & Shop

12 Station St Cottesloe 6011

(08) 9384 0378

Ogilvie’s Specialty Food & Kitchenware

273 Rokeby Rd Subiaco 6008

(08) 9382 1736

Upper Crust Cooking School

77 Colin St West Perth 6005

0421 697 727

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