I often like to join cooking classes when on holiday and it was even more of a must-do when visiting Tasmania as there are two renowned spots which promise to bring a memorable experience: Red Feather Inn near Launceston and The Agrarian Kitchen near Hobart.
Unfortunately, The Agrarian Kitchen was fully booked so I couldn’t try that. Actually, Red Feather Inn was too, but luckily for us, they kindly held a private class for the two of us (at a higher price of AUD250 v. the group class which charges AUD195). So if you are keen, book as early as you can.
Chef Lewis works at the Red Feather Inn’s restaurant and teaches their cooking school classes too. With over 25 years of experience in London and experience from cooking schools around the world, a lot of important cooking insights or ‘tricks’ is what you’ll definitely be getting out of a class here.
Perfect Pasta class to learn real skills and tricks
We decided to go with the “Perfect Pasta” class – we managed to make three very diverse pasta courses in our class (which went on from about 9am-2pm). First, we learnt the basics to making homemade pasta, which by the way is not basic at all – to make the tasty al dente pasta we did, there were so many more variables than I imagined. We also managed to learn a lot of fancy pasta-making tricks – different shaped and coloured pasta.
Third course: tortellini filled with pumpkin and feta cheese; the pink dough is made with beetroot and the green is made with spinach; the pasta was served with a capers butter sauce (so good!)
Then we made raviolis and tortellinis with different fillings. We did quite a lot that day and I think being in a private class was really an advantage (and was worth way more than those extra bucks) because we managed to learn a lot of advanced techniques. Time to go grocery shopping and impress the family now!
The cooking classes I’ve been to in other countries usually teach a few local dishes by following recipes which you can take home. That’s pretty good but I have actually never remade any of those dishes at home! At Red Feather Inn, Chef Lewis taught us real transferable cooking skills that wow-ed us in a way that no recipe can. I may not reproduce any of the exact pastas we made, but have definitely learnt the fundamentals to making really good pasta, building blocks to allow us to be creative in our own way at home.
Second course: stripy raviolis with a spinach and ricotta cheese filling (classic!), served with a cherry tomato pine nuts sauce.
Obviously it’d be impossible to pen down what we learnt that day, but here were some of the most impressive parts of the class:
- We learnt to make ricotta cheese to put in our raviolis – I didn’t even know you could make cheese at home!
- Work the dough hard to ensure al dente pasta – I used to hate homemade egg pasta because I thought they were intrinsically soggy – turns out not a lot of people (even restaurants) have the proper skills.
- We learnt how to be creative with our pasta, a number of ways to wrap tortellini and make colourful pasta dough to come up with stripey raviolis.
Beautiful and natural
I had already fell in love with Red Feather Inn before the cooking class even begun. The decor, ambience and surroundings of this place is beautifully surreal. It was a very natural environment with a fairy tale old fashioned vibe (well the foundations of the buildings here do date back to centuries ago). It’s no wonder they host about 25 weddings per year here!
Before arriving in Tasmania, we had thought about staying at Red Feather Inn. But they have limited rooms, so it was no surprise that they were fully booked when we visited right after Easter holidays. So of course, coming here for the cooking class only made me sadder that we couldn’t stay here.
All in all, both the cooking class and a night or two’s stay here is highly recommended! Most importantly, remember to book early.
Red Feather Inn is located at 42 Main St. Hadspen, Tasmania – it’s about a 10-15 minute drive from Launceston. A private cooking class can be arranged for AUD250 per person (~HKD1500) and normal classes cost AUD195 (~HKD1170).