What do you get when you combine a suddenly stood-down legion of talented kitchen professionals and a population spending more time cooking at home? For Ankita Metha, the answer is a clever business idea. Plagued with boredom in the early days of lockdown, the Sydneysider and software engineer enrolled in an online cooking class with her mother-in-law and, to her surprise, thoroughly enjoyed mastering the fine art of baking pecan pie from scratch. The next day, she bumped into her barista on a run, who told her he’d been stood down, and the concept clicked – why not create a community initiative that connects displaced workers with people looking to upskill?
Mehta took a photo of a few rogue pantry ingredients and posted it in a few online chef groups, asking whether anyone was willing to help her create something delicious. She ended up with zucchini noodles in a slow-roasted chickpea and tomato ragu, as well as a chef that was eager to give her a hand with a new project. The result is Yum Tum, a website offering intimate cooking classes with Sydney-based chefs from all over the world, who’ve clocked time at the likes of Quay, Fred’s, Coogee Pavilion and Bar Patrón to name a few.
Lessons are limited to a maximum of five participants and typically cost between $20 and $25 per person (plus the cost of the ingredients). In 45-90 minutes, you’ll learn a traditional sweet or savoury recipe from your chosen chef’s home country, from paella and tacos al pastor to millefeuille, shortbread and tiramisù. Some even go as far as to recommend a wine pairing or Spotify playlist to keep things extra relaxed.
If you’re more interested in mixing drinks or simply looking to spice up that Friday afternoon work Zoom, Yum Tum is also offering customised cocktail masterclasses from bartenders that have spent time behind the stick at Eau de Vie and Cantina OK for $20 a head.
Learning something new is always a good thing, but doing so while putting money in someone without an income’s pocket is an even better one.
For more information or to reserve a lesson, click here.
On the hunt for exceptional ingredients? Have a look at the best fresh produce boxes available in Sydney right now.