Whether you are into a yoga stretch or stretching a canvas, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in a class or workshop in Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges.

An adventure around central Victoria on a weekend can guarantee you a spot in a queue at a farmers’ market, face-to-face with glorious produce, locally sourced meats, organic fruit and vegetables and, of course, a nice drop of something sippable. But what are you going to do with all those goodies you’ve filled your basket with?

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and don your apron for one of the region’s finest cooking schools. Tony Tan is no stranger to a hot stove, having grown up in restaurants in Kuantan, Malaysia. Tony is now based in Trentham, where he runs a boutique cooking school focusing on Asian fusion (with a twist). It’s here that you can learn how to make noodles and dumplings using local ingredients such as truffles, mushrooms and greens all to go alongside one of Tony’s exquisite boned eight treasure duck and tofu delights. Plan ahead as Tony’s classes book out well in advance.

Being invited into a chef’s kitchen is something you’ll be telling your friends about for years to come. Learning from a qualified nutritionist, with recipes to take home to trial on your loved ones is equally as notable. Located in Macedon, Big Bowl of Happy is run by nutritionist Beck O’Farrell and provides home cooks with a fresh skill set to create meals for fast movers or fussy families. Book as a group and you are guaranteed a big bowl of laughs around Beck’s massive kitchen bench.

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Tony Tan, photo by Mario Schembri

From a belly full of laughs to a content belly full, try Life and Fork, an accessible cooking class in Woodend covering everything from making soufflé to playing sous chef. Head chef Erica worked in some of the most renowned Michelin star-rated restaurants in the world, before settling in Woodend, where you can discover her kitchen secrets and master the art of classical and world cuisines. Chef Erica offers after school classes for little ones to enhance their kitchen skills and there’s plenty of opportunities for all ages and cooking stages to master the art of pasta in these small classes.

After a day on the tools, one must quench their thirst. With a huge array of wineries in the region to choose from, any thirsty traveller would be warmly welcomed at a cellar door for a sip. However, if you are serious about learning something new that will impress your friends, you could try a gin making workshop at the award-winning micro distillery Animus located in Kyneton.

Take home a bottle of your own creation after a 3-hour gin blending masterclass where you will learn the art of distillation and discover unique recipes suited to your tastes and desires. Your own curated bottle of gin will be bottled up, capped and labelled for you to take back to your accommodation to enjoy with your cooking class creation.

Country Canvases Tia Alysse e1666227890540 uai
Country Canvases Tia Alysse

If a soothing Sunday is more your cup of tea, the region’s vibrant arts and culture scene could light a creative spark, with an abundance of art classes, painting workshops, mural and mosaic making sessions and craft clubs on offer.

Country Canvases is the ultimate regional Victorian escape for anyone looking to enhance their stay with a paint brush in hand! Led by local Malmsbury artist Tia Alysse, these workshops are the perfect Sunday retreat for all-levels of artistry. Enjoy a glass of wine while painting one of Tia’s gorgeous animals or birds that reside on her property and keep a keen eye out for the pet deer. Take your piece of art home to hang on your wall and relive the memory.

Back over in Kyneton’s crafty corner, The Old Auction House not only displays terrific art by local designers and craftspeople, but also holds a wealth of workshops, from macrame to kokedama, illustration and drawing, lead lighting to silver jewellery, right through to mosaic making and glass work. Each workshop runs for around three hours and catering from local organic café Homegrown on Piper is included. The teachers are masters at their art and it’s worth planning a weekend around a workshop to get the most out of your new found skill.

Time to get on the tools! What are you waiting for?


Tony Tan’s Cooking School, Trentham | tonytan.com.au
Big Bowl of Happy, Macedon | bigbowlofhappy.com.au
Life and Fork, Woodend | lifeandforkcookingschool.com.au
Animus Distillery, Kyneton | animusdistillery.com
Country Canvases, Malmsbury | tiaalysseart.com/countrycanvases
The Old Auction House, Kyneton | theoldauctionhouse.com.au

Hero image: Country Canvases

About the author

Ali Webb House of Webb
Ali Webb, House of Webb
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Kyneton-based Ali Webb adventures the state as a tiny tourist, exploring the littlest to the largest corners of our sweet slice of Victorian heaven.

A writer, a publicist, an artist manager and a downright good human being, Ali’s a curious cat, always on the hunt for a tale to share, especially if it involves digging for treasure in a local secondhand haven, scouring the seasonal delights of our favourite kitchens or simply finding a golden spot to pitch her tent after a day of bushwalking. Follow her tiny tourist tracks across the state at @houseofwebb.