Foodie Favourites #1

Unleash your inner chef and join a cooking class – you’ll learn new techniques and skills from the experts while sampling delicious cuisines.

The Central Coast has hosted master cooking classes by Tetsuya, among others. Christine Manfield owned a beach house at Wagstaffe for many years, where she wrote three of her many best-selling books. Sean Connolly, culinary director of The Wild Flower Bar & Dining at Bells at Killcare, was hand-picked by adman and developer John Singleton to run Bon Pavilion, the restaurant in his Gosford development – Sean also has starring roles in some very well-known restaurants in Sydney, Byron Bay, Adelaide and Auckland. And we mustn’t neglect to mention that the inimitable Nigella Lawson has visited to dine at several Central Coast restaurants (after hanging out with Christine Manfield in Sydney).

Central Coast cooking classes

Especially as the weather cools down, we look forward to succulent food and experiences beyond the beaches and waterways. An escape from the city need not mean only sun and sand. Cooking together is a great bonding experience for small teams (and you might be surprised at what cooking skills and food handling can tell you about your colleagues). 

So scrub up, put on the gloves and let’s get cooking!

Julie’s Place cooking school

Julie Goodwin, perhaps the best-known of our local celebrity chefs, offers cooking classes at her eponymous Julie’s Place cooking school in North Gosford. Julie’s signature cooking style is uncomplicated and unfussy, which chimes with those of us who are time poor but need to create delicious dishes. Passionate about Central Coast people and produce, she and her team liaise with farmers, producers and providores to provide guests with fresh, ethically raised local food in a delicious four-course menu. Thursdays are Love Local days but if you’re keen to extend your skills, then choose from classes such as an Italian Feast, Tapas and Sangria or the ultimate High Tea. Visit, call 02 4337 0777 or email [email protected] 

Can’t make a class? Then check out some scrumptious recipes or dive into one of her best-selling books, available at

Ali Bishop of Pachamama Catering

Ali Bishop of Pachamama Catering is renowned on the Central Coast for her home-grown organic produce and plant-based cuisine. Her garden at Booker Bay provides much of the fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers and leafy greens she uses in the Pachamama dishes at markets, home-delivered meals and in beautiful wedding feasts. Keen to share her philosophy and educate would-be cooks, Ali holds semi-regular cooking classes at Killcare Surf Lifesaving Club, led by well-known chefs such as Osteria il Coccia’s Nicola Coccia. Look out for details of upcoming classes on the Pachamama website,

Lori’s Sense for Taste

At Lori’s Sense for Taste, based in Terrigal, budding chefs are invited to enhance their taste for various featured ingredients and develop a signature cooking style. In the cooking classes, which are held for a maximum group of four participants to ensure everyone enjoys individual attention, you’ll prepare and cook dishes from the ingredients supplied, then feast together at the conclusion of the class. Lori also runs private sessions for one or two students and she specialises in Italian, Mediterranean, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines. Keep an eye out for upcoming classes at or call Lori and her team on 0414 721 656.

Premium dinner and wine experience

We get it. Sometimes you’d rather have all the decisions made for you. If this sounds like you, keep an eye out for wine-pairing dinners on the Central Coast that are sure to appeal to foodies and oenophiles.

Trish Arnott