Have you forgotten how to cook? Can’t remember the last time you ate at home? Know the number of your local takeaway Thai off by heart? Then it’s time you went to Brenda Fawdon’s Cooking School at Mondo Organics, our pick this week for First Class and an establishment that is passionate about providing a distinctive and delicious ‘real food’ experience.

Described as elegant, organic dining at its best, Mondo Organics opened in 2000 and was inspired by a concern about the increasing use of chemical pesticides, preservatives and genetically-modified additives in everyday foods.

This is a restaurant that understands the superior taste of organic foods and have dedicated themselves to sourcing the highest quality produce available. Plus as part of their cooking school, the team are committed to educating people about the benefits of eating organic produce and promoting awareness of healthy alternative food choices.

Their credo is “Eat Mondo. Feel Good.”

And you can learn how to recreate this experience at home too with their hands-on cooking school classes. They offer corporate or private classes, entertaining up to 10 – 24 in various classes, or demonstration classes for up to 50, including banquet dinner and accompanying wines.

We chatted to one of the owners, and a restaurateur and chef in her own right, Brenda Fawdon about the cooking school.

Why did you decide to offer cooking classes?

We started Mondo Organics Cooking School back in 2003. Our goal was to teach participants how to cook with nourishing organic and wholefood ingredients. Still going strong 11 years later.

Do you think many people have lost the ability to cook well for themselves?

I think many people have lost the ability to nourish themselves. Let’s face it – we’re all time-poor and it can be easy to make compromised choices. We do our best to help participants to cook quick and healthy food.

Your favourite dish to teach and why?

My first cook book was published by UQP this time last year. It’s called ‘Wholehearted Food’. I enjoy teaching recipes from my book. Participants find these recipes nourishing and fun to prepare. My favourite recipes are probably the Green Soup – a delicious soup made with loads of greens – and the chocolate dandelion pudding. Yum.

Who are all the different teachers and how did you find them?

I have been very fortunate to welcome some very talented chefs to the Mondo kitchen, including Jude Blereau and Holly Davis whose work I’ve been following for many years. Mondo Head Chef Paul Horne has been teaching on Wednesday nights for nearly seven years, and his classes are extremely popular.

Your ethos to food is…?

Local, sustainable, ethical, seasonal, fresh and organic.

And anything else you think our readers might want to know?

We are now offering food and wine tours to Northern Italy. We are heading off this Saturday on our first.

The class timetable is out for the remainder of the year and we popped the schedule below. With so many delicious-sounding choices, making a decision could be difficult.

Istanbul Feast
$120 October 22 6.30–9 pm
Turkey is an exciting blend of modern Europe and the ancient orient. Learn the secrets from Chef Paul Horne of preparing the perfect pilav, Turkish pizza, the famous Shepherd’s salad, baharat spice mix, chicken in sumac and pistachio crumbs, and warm sticky date and fig pudding.

Vegan GF and DF Desserts with Chef Rose Newberry
$110 October 29 6.30–9 pm
Chef Rose Newberry shares her recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan desserts. Spiced pumpkin date mousse, caramelised banana, and coconut and cardamom ice cream; dark chocolate tofu brulee with walnut praline; almond and vanilla cookies with homemade spiced almond milk; and more. Desserts will be packed in take-home packs, unless you eat them first!

Moroccan
$130 November 5 6.30–9 pm
Chef Paul Horne shows us how to prepare chermoula; ras el hanout; preserved lemons; delicious traditional chicken, olive and lemon tagine; sweet lamb tagine; and coconut and poppy seed cakes with citrus honey syrup.

Gluten and Dairy Free
$120 November 8 10 am–1 pm
Chef Brenda Fawdon and Naturopath Tanya Quod share practical solutions and recommend natural alternatives, beyond the supermarket shelves. Discover new flavours, ingredients and food combinations that will inspire you to whip up a gourmet feast — you can actually eat!

Northern Italian
$130 November 12 6.30–9 pm
In this class we discover the subtle flavours of Liguria. Warmed Ligurian olives; chickpea batter farinata; rosemary and lemon oil focaccia; seafood soup; lemon roasted quail; greens, currants, olives and pinenuts; honey and hazelnut cake with fig ricotta.

Eat Yourself to Good Health
$120 November 15 10 am–1 pm
Chef Brenda Fawdon and Naturopath Tanya Quod present recipes and lifestyle choices that will change your old eating habits forever. Don’t miss this one if you want to achieve wellbeing and regain your zest for life.

What’s for Dinner, Darling?
$110 November 19 6.30–9 pm
Do you need healthy, delicious recipes that you are able to throw together in under 10 minutes, without the stress? Do you need a more organised pantry, fridge and freezer? If you need help with fast and clever cooking tips, this is the class for you.

Sourdough with Chef Rose Newberry
$110 November 22 10 am–1 pm
Sourdough made easy with the help of Mondo Chef Rose Newberry. Basic starter and easy bread recipes; the best crumpet recipe that works every time; chestnut, walnut and spelt loaf; buckwheat blinis with smoked fish and labne; caraway, linseed and sesame seed rolls; sourdough crepes with mascarpone and berries.

Wholefoods Breakfast
$100 November 29 10 am–1 pm
Need some new nourishing breakfast ideas? Chef Brenda Fawdon teaches us what the best juicer is and why. Delicious ginger and pecan toasted muesli and an easy bircher muesli; light and fluffy buckwheat pancakes; honey labna; and frittata with zucchini, lemon and kefalograviera.

Mondo Organics is located at 166 Hardgrave Road, West End. To book into any of the classes above, simply click here.