She’s a chef, a tour guide and a television star, but it’s Brisbane’s newest cooking school, Putia Pure Food Kitchen Pantry, that has Banyo local Dominique Rizzo really excited.

Casual and friendly with food you can eat every day of the week, Putia Pure Food Kitchen at Banyo has a ready following amongst locals, but it’s the newly opened cooking school that has host/owner Dominique Rizzo even more excited.

I asked Dominique about the ins and outs of cooking schools and what participants will discover at Putia.

What makes a good cooking school?

For me a good cooking school needs to give value for dollar and be an informative and interesting lesson.  You should come away with new skills, the confidence to cook the dish that you learnt and to be able to put together a selection of relating dishes using similar ingredients.  You will have laughed, met new people, ate well, had a few glasses of wine and all in all had a great time.

Is there anyone who can’t learn how to cook?

No. I believe everybody can be taught to cook, even if it is a simple dish or one or two techniques that will help them feel more confident in the kitchen. Cooking is all about confidence and a few simple basic techniques and recipes when you have these you can then adapt these to many other areas in cooking building from these basics.

What are the most surprising comments people make in a cooking class?

People say all the time, ‘Wow what a great tip! I didn’t know you could do that’. I think that most people cook one dimensionally meaning that they have a recipe and they just cook that recipe over and over where as I like to take that recipe and show them how they can create several meals with the one application so they actually gain three or four different ways to use the one dish or break the recipe up to show them different ways they can use the same ingredients. I love showcasing the practical side of cooking and food.

What special features have you included in your new cooking school?

We have a beautiful alfresco dining space, a large eight bed kitchen garden full of herbs, greens and edible flowers as well as some of the best equipment from Kitchen aid, Kenwood Chef and Thermomix.  The classes are 14-16 for hands on and 20 for a demonstration. I have a unique style of teaching where I love to create about 6-7 dishes in my classes with lots of tips, hints and information that people can take away with them.

My style of classes are different in that I don’t give out the recipes until participants leave. Cooking or teaching cooking classes is about feeling your way through the recipes and if people are focused on each little detail and reading a recipe I feel they miss out on all of the great tactile aspects to cooking and being able to just throw ingredients together

How did you select your guest chefs?

I know all of them from different food related events I have either participated in or with them and also from people who have contacted me. They are all great cooks, chefs,  foodies and professionals in their field. My class schedule is really for people who want great basic cooking and ideas for every day so it’s wonderful to not have all qualified chefs as I find that it can be a little intimidating for people. Also quite often home cooks and foodies have amazing tips and more ideas for every day cooking as they are working normal working hours with families and kids to look after.

Even professional chefs have cooking disasters.  What was your worst cooking moment?

One of my most embarrassing cooking disasters was actually in a cooking class.  I was bringing a tray of food out of the oven and in front of everyone I dropped the whole tray of food on the floor! Lucky for me, I always have at least six or seven dishes in my classes so we had plenty to eat, and on a positive note I believe that any mistakes a chef makes shows that we are only human and we all make mistakes.

Find Putia Pure Food and the cooking school at shop 4 /17 Royal Parade, Banyo.

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