Growing up in a family of foodies, I’ve always felt comfortable in the kitchen. My childhood dinners always seemed far fancier than my friends’, and as my mum likes to say, “We would rarely eat the same thing twice in a month”. As an ‘adult’ now, with my own kitchen, cooking is one way I can distinguish myself from other poor students. I always make my own curry pastes, and pasta sauce bottles are only opened when I’ve finished a graveyard shift…or am severely hungover. I may be a poor student, but I’m a poor student who eats well. But in all my bravado and judgment of other’s dicing technique, never have I ever tackled duck in any way. That is, until I attended The Urban Kitchen’s Duck Masterclass with Ian Curley.
Running into The Urban Kitchen’s, er, kitchens, I joined everyone as they sipped on wine and watched The European’s head chef, Ian Curley, deftly deconstruct his duck. This wasn’t just a show-and-tell however, because we were soon let loose with our very own carcasses in our inexpert, yet enthusiastic hands. After the deconstruction it was onto preparing the main course – duck neck sausages, pithiviers, and ravioli – to be accompanied by confit duck leg, duck rillettes, and whole roast duck stuffed with oranges prepared by Ian and his team.
From start to finish the night was enjoyable and relaxed. While tackling a whole bird can be daunting (and believe me, I was daunted), Ian and his awesome team happily guided us through any fiddlier parts. Ian himself wandered amongst us to assist and answer any questions. Far from the arrogant and terrifying head chef, there’s something to be said for a world class chef who walks among his students, with advice and hands-on guidance.
To end the night we gathered downstairs in their dining room with more wine, salads, and everything we had prepared. The roast was carved by Ian himself before we dug into one of the most delectable, intimate and gourmet buffets I had ever experienced.
So now, next time I finish work at 4am, I can whip up some confit duck before bed: a skill everybody should master!
Charli W. is a creative writer, food lover, and Harry Potter aficionada in her last year of a History degree. She is sure she will find a way combine these things one day, to great success. If not, she’ll pack up and become a bartender somewhere in the Caribbean with a fabulous year-round tan.
Urban Kitchen runs specialist classes or smaller cook and dine masterclasses with Melbourne’s top chefs and foodies. Check out their website for upcoming workshops and events.
The Urban Kitchen
17-21 Bruckhurst Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205