Under the Pickle Tree’s Cooking School offers intimate classes for up to eight people to learn Vietnamese, Thai and modern Asian cuisine. Located in a beautiful bushland setting in Panton Hill, the custom-built cooking school will allow owner Kelly Meredith to share her passion for simple, healthy South-East Asian cuisine. 

Kelly lived in Thailand and Vietnam and has a successful food label - Under the Pickle Tree. The classes will focus on giving people the skills to create authentic Thai and Vietnamese dishes at home.  There is no fancy equipment – just simple techniques for braising, stir-frying, char-grilling and frying that are easily replicated in a home kitchen. 

A focus of the classes will be on Asian salads and healthy dishes so, unlike other cooking schools, the classes will omit dessert in favour of extra main courses – but, of course, there will be a little sweet for those who can’t resist!

Cooking classes will run with a minimum of five people.  Each class will have a specific focus and use only the freshest seasonal ingredients from Springvale fresh food markets.  For this reason, the menu provided may not always exactly match that offered on the day.  Vegetarians can be accommodated easily on request.

In the spirit of how people live in Asia – cooking classes will involve both individual cooking, working in pairs and working collectively to create a shared meal to remember.  Classes run for about 4–4.5 hours and cost $160 a person.  Every class ends with a feast, a Vietnamese coffee for a starter and your choice of a Thai beer or local red or white wine.

By popular demand the first classes will focus on Asian Salads, The Art of Braising using a Vietnamese master stock, Char-grilling on coals and Marinade Making.  Other classes will include:  Curry Paste Making from Scratch, An Asian Seafood Feast, How to Wok it Right, Asian Vegan that Tastes Great and Vietnamese and Thai Finger Food.  There will also be Kids Cooking Classes in the School Holidays of a shorter duration to encourage kids to cook healthy food at home.

Contact Kelly on 0418 534 511 or email kelly@underthepickletree.com.au to be first on the list for scheduled classes.


Classes for

Sat 27/10 Start time 10 am Duration 4 hours

Skills acquired: Learn to cook crispy-skin duck Vietnamese-style, familiarise yourself with exotic Vietnamese herbs and learn to smoke your own fish using just a wok and bamboo steamer. Take your salad making to a whole new level of sophistication this summer!

  • Roast Vietnamese duck and pomelo salad with a plum sauce dressing (Note pineapple will be substituted when pomelo is unavailable) with a side serve of sticky rice

  • Thai Mushroom Laarb with a roasted rice, lime and chilli dressing

  • Cambodian green mango, watercress and smoked fish salad with a rice vinegar dressing

03/11 Start 10 am Duration 4 hours

Skills acquired: learn to pound a marinade in a traditional mortar and pestle, use natural banana leaves to wrap and barbecue and learn how to cook perfect sticky rice

  • Char-grilled lime and turmeric chicken

  • Spanish mackerel and turmeric noodles char-grilled in banana leaf

  • Lemongrass beef and green papaya salad served with sesame crackers, sticky rice and a Vietnamese dipping sauce

Sunday 18/11 – 10.30 start time Duration 4 hours

Skills acquired: learn how to braise pork in a Vietnamese master stock, how to pickle your vegetables Vietnamese style, learn how to make a Vietnamese tomato sauce and work with fish cutlets rather than fillets

  • Banh my – a traditional Vietnamese pork roll as perfected by Madam Khanh in Hoi An. You will learn how to braise pork in a Vietnamese master stock and pickle Vietnamese veggies then enjoy arguably the world’s best sandwich!

  • Ca Sot Ca Chua – a daily lunchtime staple in Vietnam. Pan fried mackerel cutlet with a homemade Vietnamese tomato sauce

  • Stir-fried Vietnamese water spinach served with steamed jasmine rice

9/11 Start time 10 am Duration 4 hours

Skills acquired: Learn how to make a coriander pepper paste that is the basis of most Thai cooking, go home with your own homemade sweet chilli sauce and make your own roasted rice powder that is the secret ingredient in classic Thai salads

  • Gai Yang - world famous Thai flame-grilled chicken served with homemade sweet chilli sauce and sticky rice

  • Som Tam Thai – a classic green papaya salad made in a traditional mortar and pestle

  • Laarb Moo – spicy minced pork salad – served with sticky rice and a Thai cucumber salsa