Welcome to Cooking on the Bay Cooking School 2017-05-19T22:37:50+10:00
“Good cooking is the source of true happiness”
Auguste EscoffierOn_the_bay_symbol

Learn to cook at Melbourne’s leading Cooking School,  Cooking on the Bay, in St Kilda, right on Port Phillip Bay.  Melbourne chef Tonya Jennings opened Cooking on the Bay many years ago, after she returned back ‘home’ from the beautiful Sunshine Coast hinterland, Queensland, where she had lived and worked, for 10 years, in her successful and highly regarded cooking school, On the Ridge, at Kureelpa.

Cooking on the Bay invites you to come, learn to cook, whilst experiencing the lifestyle and the beauty of the wonderful Port Phillip Bay.  ‘Create Cook Celebrate’ glorious food with us!  Enjoy a cooking day ‘at the beach’ in St Kilda, followed by a leisurely lunch or dinner, overlooking the picturesque bay.

‘At Cooking on the Bay, we create, cook and celebrate good food
to make sitting around the table and dining,
a pleasurable, delectable food taste sensation for both family and friends’.

Tonya’s gastronomic philosophy is to cook fresh, local food in season, to cook for taste and to cook food simply, thereby enhancing the natural food flavours, so the food looks and tastes delicious.  Our cooking school produce is all fresh, local, and in season; we teach you the methods and techniques of cookery – you learn how to cook.  The result gives real food, real flavour.

Our cuisine is modern Australian; we take the best ideas, we use the freshest, local produce, we  combine the cooking principles, techniques and inspirations gained from many cooking traditions and cultures, and we form this into what we like to eat today.

At Cooking on the Bay, you are encouraged to develop a passion for cooking healthy, tasty, delicious and scrumptious food and you will learn to create and develop a style that is natural and true for your own tastes.


Be inspired by our French, Italian, Mediterranean, Modern Australian classes, and Masterclass Series in Stocks, Sauces and Soups, and Pastry.



Create dishes, learning new skills to help you be able to recreate dishes at home with ease and confidence.  Recipes vary in degree of difficulty and individuality.



Celebrate your cooking achievements, new skills and accomplished cuisines and enjoy the food that you have created with your new friends.




Our modern Australian cuisine, uses the freshest, local produce, and combines the cooking principles, techniques and inspirations gained from our many cooking traditions and cultures, and formed it into what we like to eat today.  Our cuisine is produce driven, all-embracing, exciting and varied.



Discover the French passion and ‘joy of cooking’.  To the French, food is a constant conversation and cooking is a pleasure. Take a French Culinary Journey through France, learn classic French dishes; enjoy the tastes, textures, aromas of bistro and sophisticated French fare.



Capture the passion of Italy. Discover the basics of Italian gastronomy, freshness, simplicity and lack of pretension, with delicate as well as robust dishes packed with flavour. Italians enjoy their cooking and eating is a festive, fun affair with music and laughter.



Feel and taste the sun-drenched cuisine of the vibrant Mediterranean culinary region. This cuisine is full of robust flavours: sweet, sour, and exotic, heavenly spices.  Learn the dishes from countries where people are passionate about the food they produce and eat.



A good cook has a solid knowledge of basic cooking principles, methods and techniques.  Stock-making is the key to making good sauces and soups, which will enliven all your dishes. Master stock-making, produce wondrous dishes and cook like the professionals!




For some years, Cooking on the Bay Cooking School hosted culinary weeks for groups of enthusiastic Australians and Americans at La Combe en Périgord, a residential cooking school in the beautiful Dordogne region of south west France.



In 2016 we are offering Cooking on the Bay clients and friends this amazing opportunity to join my friend and tour director Nikki Maxwell, and me co-hosting, in Provence to see unspoilt France off the beaten track in our Picnics in Provence culinary tour.



The House of Fusion culinary riad in , Morocco, and Cooking on the Bay Cooking School, have partnered together to bring you a fabulous, foodie, culinary Moroccan adventure, cooking at the House of Fusion, and road trip into the Sahara desert. 





It’s tomato time! So time to make your relish

Margaret’s ‘Inverlaul’ tomato relish This is our favourite tomato relish.  A dear, old friend, Margaret Benjamin made this for her family for years. Now her family have to make it for themselves, and they continue [...]

Cherry clafoutis – a perfect summer and festive dessert

Serves 4 - 6 Clafoutis is a rustic, country farm house, ‘batter style’, dessert, hailing from the Limousin region of France and is traditionally made with cherries. The original recipe calls for whole cherries with [...]

My Grandmother’s Christmas Cake

Christmas is a lovely festive time of the year. Soon we will all be making our Christmas cakes and decorating the house ready for the family day. Hopefully, my recipe here will inspire you get [...]

Porcini mushroom risotto

The International Wine and Food Society, Melbourne Branch, recently hosted a Masterclass in risotto cooking, presented by Beverly Sutherland Smith. The first dish was this ‘basic risotto’ as taught at the Swiss Hotel School in [...]

Preserved Lemons – three ways

Like most things, there a few methods to preserve lemons.  These are two of the methods I use, plus I have included the Greek method for you to try as well. See which one you [...]

Chicken Stock

1 - 2 chicken carcasses 1kg chicken wings or chicken necks or combination of each water to cover 10 peppercorns Mirepoix 2 onions 2 carrots 4 celery stalks 2 leeks Bouquet Garni 3 bay leaves [...]

Stracciatella alla Roman

Famous food writer, Waverley Root, writing the Time Life series, ‘The cooking of Italy’, mentions this soup as one of the Roman’s favourite dishes. He explains, ‘Stracciatella’ means little rags as the soup is made [...]

Date Harvest culinary tour to Marrakesh, October 2017

Morocco Beyond the Bay continues this year with many happy, adventurous travellers joining our culinary tours arranged by Cooking on the Bay and Edwina Golombek, chef and owner of the House of Fusion in Marrakesh.  [...]


Perseverance and my lemon meringue tartlets.

Yesterday, at Kureelpa, it was 38°C, with high humidity, until about 8.30pm, when a cool wind blew and the temperature fell. We had dinner guests and so I had spent the day in the very [...]

Seasonal Produce Guide

Spring Fruits – Apples – Custard, Lady William; Bananas; ,Berries –  blueberry, raspberry, strawberry; Cherry; Cumquats; Grapefruit – pink, yellow;  Lemons; Limes; Loquat; Lychee; Mandarins - Ellendale, Honey Murcott; Mangoes; Melons – honeydew, rockmelon, watermelon; Oranges [...]

Special plates from Les Puces, Lyon, France

As most of you will know, I am a collector of plates and kitchen equipment! It will therefore come as no surprise that on our recent visit to Lyon,we headed for the famous Les Puces, [...]

Fresh grape juice for those hot summer days.

Does anyone have grapes climbing and growing over the trellis on their back terrace? If you do, then this machine is for you. And what is this contraption you may well ask? This contraption makes [...]

Stone Soup, zuppa di sasso, and cooking at Cooking on the Bay!

Preparing for the weekend Italian classes, I was reading a lovely book called Acquacotta: recipes and stories from Tuscany’s secret silver coast, by Emiko Davies, given to me, recently, by my dear friend Jenny Peters. [...]

Our last few days in Migennes, on the River Yonne, Burgundy

We arrived back at our winter base, always with sadness to finish the barging. Now it is the packing, cleaning, organising for the winterisation of the barge and our departures. We moored next to a [...]

Dinner at Hôtel de l’Est in Saint-Florentin in the Department of the Yonne, on the Canal de Bourgogne, France

It is a challenge finding a ‘perfect’ restaurant when you are barging along the canals. For me, this means a charming, pretty restaurant with a pleasant ambience and décor, with good quality, flavoursome, well-presented food, [...]

The Canal de Bourgogne, Burgundy, on the Betty B

This season of May and August 2016, we started our journey from Auxerre, Burgundy where we intend to be for the next few years.  We barged north up the Yonne River and then we turned [...]