The beloved public kitchen at the South Melbourne Market has a new name and a new face. The NEFF Market Kitchen officially launches this week, offering up regular demonstrations and workshops and providing a unique hire space for private dinner parties and food-focused social groups. But the cherry on top of this delicious sundae has always been the cooking school.
The line up of talent that the market has roped in reads like a who's who of the Melbourne dining scene; from the 'A' of Acland Street Cantina and Anada to the (almost) 'Z' of Union Dining and Valentino. Your intimate cooking masterclass might consist of tackling a Vietnamese steak tartare with Rebecca Ng of Magic Mountain Saloon, The Press Club's Luke Croston showing how to make an ice cream sandwich with baklava, or the one-and-only Philippe Mouchel teaching you how to make Christmas so much better with a touch of French je nais se quoi.
Beginners classes are lead by professional foodies and teachers from cooking schools across town. Meanwhile the newer Market2Table series allows students to forage through the market for ingredients to serve up in lightweight sessions. Leave Friday night's leftover pizza languishing in deepest, darkest reaches of your fridge. Instead, get up close and personal with the experts from the likes of Tonka, Taxi and Sapore for the best Saturday lunch you'll ever whip up at 'Lunch at the Chef's Table'. And yet, we're still kinda jealous that the under-age set get to dabble in pizza muffins and choc banana cinnamon puffs. Be forewarned, we Melburnians are a hungry lot, so classes tend to sell out faster than you can flip a pancake.
Neighbouring the—dare we suggest—iconic South Melbourne Dim Sims, the kitchen itself has been transformed. The space now opens up completely, and interior designer Adele Bates has had her way with it, adding the warmth of timber, terrazzo, concrete and black to straddle the line between a home and commercial kitchen. It gets even more state-of-the-art with shiny new ovens and other fancy appliances by German kitchen masters and naming partner NEFF, whose heritage stretches back almost as far as the market's does. The market is even offering visitors the chance to win a covetable NEFF oven worth over four grand. Where do we sign up? And what are the chances Huxtable and market kitchen guest chef Daniel Wilson will swing by to cook in it for us?
Sundays in August (except the 9th) are open days for the NEFF Market Kitchen and provide a chance to see and taste the new offerings with various free activations. We hear whispers that Coda and Tonka head chef Adam D'Sylva will be popping on the 16th, while the young at heart can get in on gingerbread people decorating come the 23rd. Check in with South Melbourne Market for the exact drool-worthy details.