“Sharpen your culinary skills, learn, eat and have fun!”
It’s the catchcry of Scenic Rim Cooking Classes, a culinary business where Caz Osborne indulges her passion for great local food and the power of cooking together to make friends, have fun, at the same time making some serious points about eating local.
The Scenic Rim classes are usually held at Hammermeister House in Boonah, which also acts as an accommodation house for those wishing to spend longer in the region. Alternatively, Caz holds corporate or private classes at other venues, as well as catering for events and being a private chef.
When we attended, however, the class was held in Caz’s own home, the Kooroomba Gully Kitchen, Mt Alford, in the heart of the Scenic Rim.
The house is situated on 40 undulating acres of land with a multitude of fruit and nut trees growing, as well as vegetable gardens. An expensive verandah looks out across treed pastures to a rim of mountains on the horizon.
The Scenic Rim is one of the Gold Coast’s main food bowls. It provides an abundance of fresh produce and artisan food products, many of which feature in Caz’s classes, along with produce from her own gardens.
As we gather on the verandah for introductions, we enjoy a freshly made spritzer juice and canapes of duck breast, ewegart (from local producer Towri Sheep Cheeses) and macadamia pastries, the nuts harvested from Caz’s property.
Caz tells us a little about the history of the business, how she left her life as a project manager for Brisbane City Council to start her cooking school and catering business in 2018. It has hardly been a dream run, she says, due to droughts, fires and Covid, however the business has stayed open thanks to local support from Brisbane and Gold Coast residents as well as government and local promotions encouraging us to ‘visit our own backyard’.
Caz’s classes cover a wide range of cuisines from around the world: Italian, Greek, Thai Fusion, Aussie bush tucker and Mexican, as well as specific types of cooking such as cooking with elegance and fast food to make for parties.
Our class features Thai fusion dishes that are simple enough to make at home, a range of recipes to make singly or as a complete dinner for invited guests.
Rather than each of us making the whole dish, we take turns in doing the preparation, coordinated by Caz, who gives advice along the way.
As usual, it’s the tips and asides that are the most valuable tool to take away from this cooking class. Caz gives us advice on how to prepare to cook, which equipment is best, what ingredients (such as oils) to buy and use for different processes, how to tell when a dish is cooked to perfection, and so on. As well, of course, we have Caz’s recipes to take away plus the knowledge to make them again at home.
In no time at all the meal is ready. We sit down together at the gorgeously set table to eat lunch accompanied by wine and soft drink. With views across the property, it’s an ambient rural setting. The lunch is also an accomplishment because we have made it ourselves (with some expert help, of course)!
From young to old(er), we have been united by our passion to learn more about a skill we love, increasing our skills along the way. In so doing, we have made friends and gained confidence in our ability to cook and entertain. Once more, we’re reminded to choose local, cook from the heart and share what we’ve made with others in the true spirit of hospitality.
Scenic Rim Cooking Classes, Ph: 0408 199 736, 22 Mountview Close, Boonah
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast was a guest of Scenic Rim Cooking Classes.