Whats Cooking in the Zoo Kitchen

Our new International Cookery Students were busy in Figtree Function Centre kitchen today at the Adelaide Zoo. Today’s session was basic cookery methods and the students were learning how to use the deep fryer. An industrial deep fryer is no joke though, and when it comes down to it safety is always first when you are dealing with super hot oil. QTHC Trainer Chef Heather first walked the students through how to safely use the deep fryer and after they had been well versed in the safety aspects, they geared up to make their first batch of deep fried delicacies.

On the menu for the international class were onion rings, croquettes, coleslaw and an aioli dipping sauce. Learning how to make batter to coat their onion rings was quite the challenge at first for some of the students, and they had to master how to make two kinds, crumbed batter and beer batter.

The trickiest part of making batter from scratch is getting the consistency right. Too thick and you end up with a glob of batter with a bit of onion lurking somewhere inside it, whereas too little and you get disappointment all round, as batter is well known to be the ‘best bit’ of any deep fried food.

Once the hard part of the preparation was done it was then time to cut up the potatoes, prepare the potato croquettes and cut up the veggies for the coleslaw.

Chef Heather says that the best way to learn how to chop veggies like a pro is practice, and her students certainly got lots of practice as they “julienned” the carrots. The coleslaw salad the students presented as a result looked great, and once they added their homemade dressing it tasted even better.

Probably the highlight of the day for the students was making their own aioli. Aioli is something almost everyone has tried at some point and it can definitely make or break a dish. If the students learnt one thing about aioli it’s that you have to be mindful of your oil, and look for the perfect consitency. On the subject of oil and aioli, the advice from Chef Heather is that you should always use a plain oil, for example canola. Selecting the right oil is key to getting the perfect aioli, mayonnaise or dressing, and then second to that is choosing the right acid to complement it. In this case the students used a white wine vinegar, but you can also use lemon juice or any other kind of vinegar you feel inclined to try. Another pro tip on the subject of aioli is to always roast your garlic first if you are planning to make a garlic aioli, as this will give it a much richer and “garlic-ier” flavour.

And then at last it was time for all the hard work and preparation to pay of, as the students got to put their mornings labours into a vat of boiling oil that would transform their currently soggy battered creations into golden and crispy, deep fried delights.

In the end the students produced a dish that would be perfect for lunch by the beach, with crunchy onion rings, golden croquettes and crispy chips that any seagull would love to have a go at. The aioli topped it all off, and Chef Heather’s expert instruction in the finer points of aioli making, helped the students produce a dipping sauce that was a tangy counterpoint to the rest of the dish.

Well done everyone. We can’t wait to catch up with you next week, and see what you are cooking up then.

If you would like to try your hand at making aioli, check out this great recipe…


Yield: 5, 50ml Serves


Garlic 20 g

Eggs 2

Mustard 5 g

Olive oil 250 mL


  1. Peel and chop the garlic1.
  2. Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks with the mustard and garlic, while gradually adding the oil to emulsify the mixture
  3.  When mixture has reached an appropriate consistency stop whisking
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste

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