Cape Lodge Cooking Masterclass with chef Tony Howell

I was thrilled that an invitation to attend Cape Lodge‘s cooking class with WA’s favourite chef Tony Howell coincided with a trip down south to Margaret River. I’ll declare straight away that chef Tony Howell is a client of mine at Pronto PR. He is an amazing chef and so great with people (which is why Tourism WA engage him to represent the state). The other 20 people in the masterclass said the same so I thought you’d be interested to hear more too.

Cape Lodge, a stunning country manor style boutique hotel in the Margaret River region, runs cooking classes each month, usually with a different theme – French Bistro, Truffles, Bastille Day, Spring Lamb, Festive Season and the like. Our class was on the Art of Fish.

Here’s a little video I made about it.


Tony demonstrated how to fillet three kinds of fish: nannygai, salmon and dhu fish. He talked about buying fish, the difference between line caught and net caught fish, filleting fish and how to fillet different kinds of fish, what to do with the skin, bones, heads and other remains and demonstrated how to make:

  • fish stock
  • fish jus
  • gravlax
  • smoked tartare
  • smoked salmon
  • seafood chowder
  • pan fried nannygai
  • lemon and ricotta tart

He talked about Chilli Jam and his famous Asian Broth and asked restaurant manager Marco to print those recipes off for us as well.

After a 2.5-hour cooking masterclass (actually, was closer to three hours!), we took a walk through Cape Lodge’s kitchen garden where Chef Tony pointed out edible flowers and we picked a few for tasting. We also picked cucumber melons – mini cucumbers that look like watermelons and grow on vines. We then headed into the restaurant for a much-welcomed glass of Cape Lodge Semillion Sauvignon and sat down to a four-course lunch. Incredible value when you think it’s just $145 per person which includes lunch with a generous amount of wine. If your other half doesn’t fancy sitting through the masterclass, they can join you for lunch for $95.

Chef Tony Howell cooking class

Chef Tony Howell filleting a nannygai with a big screen for us to see it being done

Lunch was incredible – housemade sourdough (the mother was started 15+ years ago) with whipped truffle butter (so luscious I could bathe in that butter!), smoked salmon, salmon gravlax, salmon tartare on squid ink cracker (my dish of the day), seafood chowder (hot contender for dish of the day), nannygai with artichoke puree and lemon and ricotta tart. Every course was executed perfectly – looking down the table, everyone else’s plates were as clean as mine after every course.

We left with a little pack of recipes, completely full stomachs and smiles from ear to ear. It was a great way to spend a day.

seafood chowder

Seafood chowder – it tasted as good as it looks


Going to Cape Lodge is always a treat and to dine in the restaurant even more so, eating delicious dishes made with top quality local produce (besides the salmon which is from Tasmania) that’s been prepared with care. There’s a reason why Cape Lodge is where all the top chefs stay when in the region for Gourmet Escape and why Tourism WA sends media and other VIPs there.

I’ve got my eye on the Black Truffles and Mushrooms masterclass on 15 June. For a list of upcoming cooking classes, visit Cape Lodge website.


Cape Lodge 
Caves Road, Yallingup, WA 6282
Tel: 08 9755 6311

Cooking class starts 11am, $145 pp includes lunch with Cape Lodge wines

salmon gravlax by chef tony howell


Disclosure: Dianne Bortoletto was invited to attend the Cape Lodge cooking class and chef Tony Howell is a client of Dianne’s at Pronto PR

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