Barossa Cooking Classes? I have just attended my second cooking class at the newly opened Food Luddite Kitchen Studio … and I want more!

The brainchild of renowned Barossa Chef Mark McNamara and his gorgeous wife Jo, the Kitchen Studio is located in a dear little cottage adjacent to their home in the village of Greenock (just up the road from the new Kalleske Cellar Door, but that’s another story…) 

In my opinion time spent with Mark & Jo is the quintessential Barossa experience…. on many fronts, including the time honoured one of friendly hospitality.

Mark’s entire career has been working with food as a chef, culinary educator, restauranteur and food producer. He has travelled and worked in Europe, Singapore, Malaysia and India and in some of Adelaide’s leading restaurants. In 1993 he opened Pear Tree Cottage, the “go to” restaurant in the Barossa in its time. Mark was Executive Chef and partner in Appellation restaurant at The Louise from 2005 until 2012 and was instrumental in it being recognised as one of Australia’s leading regional restaurants.

Now Mark wants to teach….and we all stand to benefit!

He’s passionate about regional provenance and true seasonality and of course the Barossa and its food heritage. As Mark explains while helping us prepare a rustic Open Quince tart ……”the essence of good food shouldn’t be a trial, it should be simple”.

Food Luddite boning a chicken_smlMy most recent class was called “Tricks of the Trade”. There were three of us in the delightful studio, soaking up Mark’s cooking secrets for six glorious hours, what a luxury! We practised knife skills and boning skills and learnt about texture, flavour, saltiness, sweetness and acidity. Simple formulas that replace the need for complex recipes and the basic tools we need to achieve wonderful dishes were discussed…and there was hardly an electronic gadget in sight.

Mark’s classes vary from three to six hours and always include a shared table meal. Our “Tricks of the Trade” class was six hours (plus a bit because we all talked too much and there was so much to do and learn, the day just flew.)

We eventually emerged from the kitchen of learning into the garden on a bright Autumn afternoon in sunny Greenock and enjoyed the fruits of our labour – and what a feast! A Creamy Chowder of Sloww-braised-Duck_smlSouth Australian Oysters, Smoked Duck Breast, Bengali Tomato Chutney, a Lachs-schinken, potato and Cheese Pie, Braised Duck Legs, Pan Fried Duck Breast, Chicken Ballotine, (served with a sauce made from an amazing chicken stock we made in 40 minutes in a pressure cooker!), Lettuce & Pear Salad with Grain Mustard Dressing, Vietnamese Salad with Fish Sauce Dressing and Ciabatta (now I know what a flying ferment is!).

Rustic Quince tart_smlDessert was a Rustic Open Quince Tart. We made the pastry (WHY have I always been scared of pastry?…we made it by hand in no time), had the quinces cooked and a beautiful deep crimson colour in the pressure cooker in 40 minutes, and made the frangipane, again without any fancy machinery required.

Six hours of fun, learning and dining to die for …. all this for $180pp (Min 4 to 8 people).

Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage has a special four hour Food Luddite Kitchen Studio package exclusively for one couple. This can be a lunch or dinner experience, so easily fitted in with a 2 or 3 day stay, and includes a complimentary bottle of our Seize the Day wine. (Subject to Mark’s availability of course).

And here’s where I will make a prediction. When the word is out, visitors to the Barossa wanting to immerse themselves in this bespoke, Barossa food experience will need to book months in advance, so do yourself a favour and experience yet another piece of the Barossa that makes this such a special place to live and visit.

For more information about Mark’s classes, dates and times, visit his website:

Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage luxury Barossa vineyard accommodation


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