Victoria is home to Australia’s top chefs and restaurateurs and we believe that there is no other city in the world that can boast the diversity and quality of our food and wine.

Acacia’s guests can enjoy hands-on cooking experiences with Victoria’s leading chefs in the city of Melbourne or in beautiful regional locations such as Daylesford, Mornington Peninsula and the Dandenong Ranges.

Forage with Shannon Bennett

Protégé of Marco Pierre White and Alain Ducasse, Shannon Bennett is one of Australia’s pre-eminent chefs. He’s an author and head chef of the globally recognised restaurant Vue de monde, at Melbourne’s Rialto Tower. Shannon also frequently appears as a guest judge on the popular cooking show Masterchef Australia.

Spend a day with Shannon as he provides an insight to the history, present and future of his stunning Dandenong Ranges property ‘Burnham Beeches’ located a short drive from Melbourne. Explore the estates manicured grounds before venturing into the historic mansion to hear tales of eccentric past residents and famous guests such as the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Wander through sustainable gardens filled with wild strawberries, kale and red broccoli. See the properties emus, ducks and chickens that provide eggs for the café and venture into the Trufferie and if the season is right, enjoy a truffle hunt.

The day will be very hands on, offering an opportunity for to forage in the gardens with Shannon, roll up your sleeves and do some cooking before indulging in a delicious meal.

Daylesford with Alla Wolf-Tasker AM

An icon in regional dining, Lake House in Daylesford has long been considered one of Australia’s best restaurants, championing local seasonal cuisine long before it became a mantra for many. The hotel and all manner of indulgent facilities that have grown around the restaurant over the past three decades continue to delight visitors from near and far.

Culinary Director and visionary, Alla Wolf Tasker has enough national and international awards to fill virtually every wall of her fabled house on the lake from Two Hats in the national Good Food Guide to Australia’s Best Wine List Hall of Fall from Gourmet Traveller.

Widely credited for getting regional destination dining started in Australia against all odds; Alla’s tenacity and a belief in what was possible is indeed legendary. Her passion and enthusiasm to support and profile local Victorian producers is exemplary.

During this Acacia exclusive experience guests will meet the who’s who of agriculture in central Victoria. Alla will introduce the producers before stepping into the Lake House kitchen where she will provide an intimate and educational cooking demonstration that leads to an exceptional dining experience.

Press Club Projects

Since opening The Press Club in 2008, celebrity chef George Calombaris’s flagship restaurant has established itself as one of Melbourne’s finest dining establishments garnering a host of culinary awards along the way.  With a nod to his own heritage, Calombaris elevates Greek Australian cuisine to a new level with an experimental menu featuring plenty of molecular theatrics.

Less well known is that a recent remodelling of The Press Club restaurant incorporates an impressive test kitchen kitted out with about $200,000 worth of gadgetry that can do everything from freeze drying, steaming, to spray coating and evaporating.

Allow Acacia to facilitate an innovative culinary adventure dining at The Press Club’s test kitchen where the restaurant’s Head Development Chef and team experiment right in front of guests.  With a glass of wine in hand, guests sit at the chef’s workstation observing and consuming dreamt up gastronomic creations – some may even make it on the restaurant’s main menu for future diners to enjoy.

Included in the experience are luxury transfers to and from The Press Club and a pre-dinner cocktail at one of Melbourne’s premier laneway bars where guests will learn more about the city’s foodie credentials – the prefect orientation for further exploration.

Walter Trupp Market Tour & Cooking Class

As befitting Australia’s culinary capital, Melbourne is blessed with one of the country’s leading cooking schools.  In an impressive, designed for purpose kitchen facility a short distance from one of Melbourne’s inner city produce markets, guests can join private cooking classes with acclaimed chef Walter Trupp who has forged an international reputation at some of the most prestigious restaurants in Europe, including a stint as Head Chef of Marco Pierre White’s restaurant group.

Guests will first journey to bustling Prahran Market where guests will be expertly guided on the selection of quality seasonal produce suitable for the cooking class.  Then back to the kitchen for an entirely hands-on experience with plenty of laughs to be enjoyed along the way.  The culmination of this fun activity will be the consumption of your own culinary masterwork.

Italian-Australian Cooking in a Private Home 

While the history of Italian migration to Melbourne dates back to the 1850’s gold rush, it was the post war migrant influx that forever transformed our city in to the vibrant culinary hub that it is today.  Indeed, it is the fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cooking techniques with spectacular Australian produce, that best epitomises modern Australian cuisine.

For guests after an intriguing glimpse into the world of Italian-Australian cuisine, join Melbourne local home chef Sandra Del Greco on an authentic culinary adventure inspired by regional, seasonal and fresh ingredients.

Guests may first elect to join Sandra on a tour of one of Melbourne’s buzzing local markets where she provides insight in selecting the freshest ingredients for the feast ahead.  Then, in a private home kitchen and with a quality pinot grigio in hand, Sandra will create dishes that pay homage to both her Abruzzese heritage and her Australian homeland in an interactive, relaxed and conversational environment.

Paddock to Plate at Green Olive, Red Hill

Green Olive at Red Hill, in the heart of the spectacular wine country of the Mornington Peninsula just one hour from Melbourne, has established itself as one of the premier ‘Agritourism’ properties in Australia. Spend time on a walking tour though the olive grove learning all about biological farming, olive oil, and table olives. Wander through the vineyard and get a feel for why ‘terroir’ plays such an important role in producing great wines. Learn all about seasonal produce in the ‘kitchen’ garden, while touching, feeling, smelling and being a part of the food you will then cook.

This Food and Wine experience is all about rolling up sleeves and joining the farmer in the paddock and the chef in the kitchen. Guests will use their culinary skills and be guided by Green Olive’s expert chef to create a true “paddock to plate” dish. Once the hard work is done guests can sit down and enjoy their food creation with a glass of Green Olive at Red Hill Estate grown wine.

For more information on any of these culinary experiences or to make a reservation, contact Acacia Tours