I’ve been a huge fan of Julie Goodwin’s ever since I watched the first season of Masterchef all those years ago. I loved how personable she was, how much she so obviously loved her husband and kids, and mostly how much her cooking style was like mine. Simple, home-cooked food with the best ingredients she could afford, and cooked with love.
Also, like Julie, when I’m stressed my cooking ability completely fails me [if you follow me on twitter or like my facebook page you will have seen much evidence of this…].
It also didn’t hurt that she lives on the Central Coast – where I grew up. I felt a kinship.
I started following Julie on twitter maybe three years ago and found her just as personable there as on TV. Over time we have struck up a few conversations, naturally all about food. So when I heard she had opened a new cooking school in Gosford, I was determined to get there on my next visit to Killcare [where we have a family holiday house, and one of my favourite places on earth]. This conveniently happened to be a few weeks after the opening soiree. Talk about good timing!
When I tweeted Julie that I was keen to attend her Pickles and Preserves class, and were there spaces left, she very generously said yes, and could I please attend as her guest. After a few back and forth tweets with me saying I would pay, and Julie saying no way, I gratefully accepted.
I’m not sure what I was more excited about – meeting Julie, or that there is a fabulous new cooking school in Gosford! [I should say here that there may be other cooking schools on the Coast, but when I was growing up there was NOTHING. Plus, I nearly failed Home Ec. All to do with parsley and eggs. Which don’t go together. Ever. But I digress…].
Julie’s Place is located very conveniently on one of the main streets in Gosford [technically in North Gosford], and about a 10 minute walk from Gosford train station. PERFECT FOR ALL YOU SYDNEY PEOPLE! The train ride from Sydney to Gosford has about 30 minutes of completely stunning scenery through the Hawkesbury River and then around Brisbane Water, and you don’t get to see this when you drive. I know as I have done that train trip probably 600 times and driven it another couple of hundred. The train is better.
I loved the fit out – from the colour coded bookshelves to the vintage-look light fittings, to the piano and lounges in the back room [perfect for a function – it can fit 100 people].
The cooking set up was very practical, with very shiny stainless steel workstations that can accommodate 24 students for a hands-on cooking class, and a demonstration workbench in front.
Julie’s teaching style was just like she is. Personal, friendly and with no “look at moi look at moi” airs and graces. I’m still laughing at my attempt to mimic her fingers for chopping and slicing. No matter how hard I try, I cannot hold onto the onion in that way. I’ll just keep practising.
In our class we made tomato kasundi, a red onion pickle and Julie demonstrated how to make confit garlic (we all were given a jar to take home) and a quick and simple pickled cucumber that we ate with a ploughman’s lunch that was included as part of the class. This was my favourite bit [I have long since realised that as much as I love to cook, I love to eat, drink and talk more!].
Julie’s Place offers an array of classes to suit a range of cooking skill and ability, and she has a team of chef’s teaching with her. It is also available for private classes for corporate team building, birthdays, hen’s nights and more, and the space can be used for private functions such as a cocktail party or a lunch.
Julie’s Place – www.juliesplace.com.au
Lower level, 370 Mann Street, North Gosford NSW 2250
Ph: (02) 4337 0777
Disclaimer: The cook’s notebook attended Julie’s Place as a guest of Julie Goodwin. I had a great time and met some lovely people. Thank you.