Celebrate the art of cooking with Moonacres Cooking School. Understand, prepare and enjoy fresh, seasonal and hand-made food – experience the simple act of eating seasonally.

Learn specialist skills and crafts from artisans, farmers, local and renowned chefs and, take pleasure in the simple act of a shared table. The school is a living repository not only of food knowledge, but more importantly of food practice. The focus is on the doing, on learning by doing, on being taught by working practitioners.

Enquire with our Concierge Team about a customised group or corporate classes.

Gourmet Chef Experience – Troy Crisante, Head Chef Quay Restaurant – Saturday 24 February 2024
Duration: 4 Hours
Cost: $200

Troy Crisante is Co-Head Chef of Quay, leading the kitchen team with fellow chef Tim Missud.

Troy joined the Fink family in 2012 as a fouth-year apprentice, where he graduated through various roles in the Quay kitchen. Troy left Australia in 2014 to work abroad in London, where his career highlights included a stint alongside fellow Aussie Brett Graham at The Ledbury.

On his return to Sydney, Troy worked as Senior Sous Chef at Bennelong where he was awarded Time Out’s Hot Young Talent Award in 2016, and was runner up in the 2016 Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year Award.

He continued to progress throughout Fink’s restaurant portfolio, working as Senior Sous Chef at Firedoor before re-joining the Quay kitchen as Senior Sous Chef in 2018.

In 2019, Troy became Co-Head Chef at Quay where he continues to work and grow under Executive Chef Peter Gilmore.

Great food to me is all about love. This starts with the producer, be it the farmer who spends months or years preparing the soil and land to create incredible biodiversity and a nutrient rich environment to grow vegetables or fruits. Or the fisherman who loves the ecosystem that he harvests, that line catches each and every fish and humanely dispatches and
stores meticulously. It’s the farmers who care for their herd and rotate their fields and allow their animals to forage or scratch and socialize. These are the first steps to creating some amazing food.

All of this love and care is done weeks, months or even years before someone like me receives the ingredient so it’s our duty to continue to respect and love the ingredients all the way to the final product on the plate. One of my biggest responsibilities at Quay is to teach this ethos to all our chefs. I think as chefs we sometimes can get caught up in the technique or the skill of the chef and lose touch of the magic of a perfectly ripe, lovingly grown ingredient.

At Quay we always try to champion our producers, there is even a page on the menu that has a list of some of our closest producers. In a world where mass production of food is becoming more and more prevalent its more important than ever to celebrate the good guys who are looking after the land and our bodies.

Troy will join us for an evening of conversation and food cooking some of his favourite recipes using Moonacres produce for a dinner around our table.

Conversation begins at 3pm with dinner concluding at 7pm. 

Make the most of your time in the Highlands with an overnight stay at Moss Manor in Moss Vale.

Enquire with our Concierge Team about a customised group or corporate classes.

Book Launch, Conversation and Dinner with Sophie Hansen – Sunday 17 March
Duration: 4 Hours
Cost: $195

Sophie is launching her new cookbook “What can I bring?” with us in March and its everything we lean into around food. The sharing, the gathering and the feeding of those you love and it’s an easy and delicious guide to what to bring for and to any gathering.

It will be an abundant evening. Champagne on arrival, conversations with Phil Lavers from Moonacres Farm, Nicole Feggans Jamberoo Mountain Farm and Fiona Walmsley from Beuna Vista Farm. Sophie will share her new book, and all guests will receive a copy, and then we will join Sophie around the bench to create a few recipes to enjoy over a long dinner.

Bringing a plate is part of the Australian culture and many of us have grown up hearing these words. The easiest and best gatherings are when everyone pitches in. It’s sanity-saving for the host, not to mention energy- and money-saving and arguably, more fun and interesting. But what do you make when asked to bring a plate?

Sophie offers seasonally delicious answers to that perennial question. Drawing inspiration from some of her favourite country cooks, friends, family and bring-a-plate traditions, she shares her best recipes when you need a salad of substance, a dinner for a camping trip, a soup for the thermos, a wintry pot-luck meal and a treat for the cake stall.

The common thread of all Sophie Hansen’s recipes and gatherings is the community and kindness that binds us and these recipes and ideas will help glue together your own special gatherings.

Sophie Hansen

She is the author and photographer of five cookbooks, co-host of the podcast Something to Eat and Something to Read and, she spent three years working with Slow Food Editore in Northern Italy in her twenties. For the past ten years Sophie has been sharing recipes on her blog Local is Lovely and runs workshops around country NSW and beyond.

She writes a weekly newsletter called ‘5 things to be cheerful about’ and if that’s not enough! she was awarded in 2016, Australian Rural Woman of the Year in recognition of her commitment to rural communities.

She is a great friend to Moonacres school, and we are delighted to welcome her back to the school for a conversation and dinner.

Bubbles on arrival, conversation with Nicole, Fiona and Phil and book launch at 5pm and dinner with Sophie at 7pm

Make the most of your time in the Highlands with an overnight stay at Moss Manor in Moss Vale.

Enquire with our Concierge Team about a customised group or corporate classes.

Food for Health – Eilish Maloney from The Whatif Society – Saturday 6 April 
Duration: 4 Hours
Cost: $195

Eilish is an incredibly passionate foodie who we have come to love. This class is about offering an educational and inspiring evening through creativity and conversation surrounding seasonal eating. It is acknowledging and talking about where our food comes from and the part we can play.

Eilish has recently launched her own business, The What If Society, and with it a studio. Everything she offers is made by her for you. All within her circle.

It’s a food focussed cooperative, working together with local suppliers to live and educate each other on full circle living, taking from the source and returning to the source. With its main focus being zero waste.

Eilish will be joined by Phil Lavers, farmer and owner of Moonacres Farm, and they will share their experience and thoughts on sustainable farming, seasonal eating and the importance of healthy living soil to our environment.

Guests will then join Eilish around the bench to cook produce harvested from Moonacres farm and other local sustainable farmers.

Eilish Maloney

Born and bred in the heart of the Southern Highlands, Eilish’s passion and natural culinary skills surfaced early whilst working at Onesta Cucina, when just 17, where she completed her apprenticeship. She then took to city life and worked at one hatted restaurant Nomad in Surry Hills, Sydney. After 18 months at Nomad, Eilish took the plunge and purchased a one way ticket, packed her bags and set off on a solo trip around the globe, travelling through South East Asia and Europe.

Settling in London for the next 24 months, Eilish began working for the two-Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury, which is ranked one of the best in the world. Owned and run by a fellow Australian Brett Graham.

From London, Eilish went on to work at a pop-up one-star restaurant in South Africa, a two star restaurant in Sweden and cooked countless meals for new friends all over that side of the globe. Returning home to Australia in 2017, Eilish set her sights on fish and joined the team at Saint Peter Paddington under the watchful eye of Joshua Niland. Whilst juggling her life in Sydney, Eilish returned home to the Southern Highlands to do various pop ups; launching a summer series event based in Kangaroo Valley showcasing the local produce and talent in the region.

The conversation starts at 4pm and concludes with a dinner cooked with Eilish at 7pm.

Make the most of your time in the Highlands with an overnight stay at Moss Manor in Moss Vale.

Enquire with our Concierge Team about a customised group or corporate classes.

In Conversation – Community with Phil Lavers, Danielle Alvarez and Ronni Kahn – Saturday 8 June
Duration: 3 Hours
Cost: $75

The mission of Moonacres School for 2024 and beyond is to provide educational and inspirational learning opportunities that supports Moonacres Farm and its commitment to soil health, sustainable farming and regenerative agriculture and the health and wellbeing of our people and planet.

In this “In Conversation” we are talking with Phil Lavers owner of Moonacres Farm, Danielle Alvarez Culinary Director at the Sydney Opera House and Ronni Kahn Founder of OzHarvest and we are talking the power of community.

Here at Moonacres we are big believers in the power of food – not just to nourish us, but to bring us together, and importantly, to connect us with the planet we call home. Now, more than ever, community is at the heart of making a real difference to the health of our planet and, in turn, our own health.

Ronni Kahn AO Founder and CEO of food rescue charity OzHarvest.

Ronni is a social entrepreneur and a passionate advocate and activist, renowned for disrupting the food waste landscape in Australia. She appears regularly in national media, serves in an advisory capacity to government and is a sought-after keynote speaker. Her mission to fight food waste and feed hungry people is supported by some of the world’s finest chefs. Ronni
is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and was named Australian Local Hero of the Year. Her journey is the subject of a feature film, Food Fighter* and her memoir, A Repurposed Life.

Danielle Alvarez, chef, author and Culinary Director of the Sydney Opera House

Danielle is one of Australia’s most celebrated female chefs and was at the helm of Fred’s in Paddington for six years where she achieved numerous accolades. In October 2023, she published her second cookbook, Recipes for a Lifetime of Beautiful Cooking, and is a regular contributor to Good Weekend Magazine.

Phil Lavers owner and farmer of Moonacres Farm.

He and wife Lisa set about creating a farm to produce the best produce possible and that meant it would be organic and follow sustainable ethical practices. Despite some trials and failures Moonacres is now thriving. The Farm supplies some of Sydney’s and regional NSW’s best restaurants including Icebergs, Lankan Filling Station, ANTE, Fred’s, Fontana and Firedoor, sells
at several markets in the Southern Highlands, and of course provides farm fresh food to its own cafés, Moonacres Kitchen and Hearth by Moonacres as well as our school in Robertson.  Phil runs Moonacres as a working example of the future of farming and is a fierce advocate for the protection of the land. He is featured in the book of Soil to Table
by The Land Gardeners.

The conversation will commence at 2 pm with homemade treats cooked at the school, teas from Pachamama and conclude with more delicious food fresh from Moonacres farm, Hearth and Kitschen.

Make the most of your time in the Highlands with an overnight stay at Moss Manor in Moss Vale.

Enquire with our Concierge Team about a customised group or corporate classes.

Understand, prepare and enjoy fresh, seasonal and hand-made food - experience the simple act of eating seasonally.

The opportunity to learn the art and craft of food, in all it's forms, is the offering of Moonacres School.