Delivering all your foodie goods and experiences since 2005
For more than 15 years The Essential Ingredient has been delivering the goods, literally, to local foodies eager to up their at-home culinary skills and cooking tools.
Opening the doors originally at the Junction Fair in 2005 The Essential Ingredient has come full circle with owner Leonie Young returning to the shopping centre in 2016 following a 6 years stint on Darby St. During that time it's fair to say that nothing, and everything has changed.
The Essential Ingredient has always been a sanctuary for those who love to explore the world of fine foods and all things kitchen related, yet with reality cooking shows taking over our screens, celebrity chefs becoming a thing and of course COVID-19, at-home cooking has been taken to a whole other level.
Taking a browse through the store the shelves are loaded with everything you need to create the most spectacular of dishes – from exotic spices and flavoursome sauces, recipe books, pasta and that all-important flour. You can even deck out your entire kitchen and dining room with Leonie sourcing a beautiful range of tableware, kitchen equipment and high quality cookware.
The Essential Ingredient is also your go-to destination for when a cheese and antipasti plate is required. The dedicated cheese room stocks an extensive range of Australia's best varieties along with some amazing cheese from around the world.
If you've only ever wandered past you will have surely noticed the open kitchen that’s often buzzing with cooking enthusiasts busy learning a new cuisine or technical skill. Kids are encouraged to get involved as well with the afterschool Small Fries classes providing a rigorous but fun intro to cooking, providing the perfect environment to develop the next little Masterchef.
In addition to the weekly classes, some of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley’s best chefs drop in for what Leonie describes as a Masterclass experience,
“In the past we’ve had Muse, Restaurant Mason, Alfonso from Napoli, Reece Hignell, the Flotilla, and now we have a Signal Box Masterclass scheduled for November."
"The Masterclasses are open to a maximum of 15 people and they’re our flagship experience where the chef prepares a 5-course meal, matched with wine selected by a local Sommelier."
"The Masterclasses are quite special as the chefs are open to sharing their knowledge and philosophy on food, in what is a very intimate and interactive experience. Those attending also get the opportunity to chat one-on-one with the chef and that's when you can ask all of those burning questions."
To enjoy the space you don’t have to be a cooking enthusiast, with Leonie explaining that the cookery area is also open to corporate team building classes, hen’s parties or any kind of private functions you have in mind.
What's most to love about The Essential Ingredient is the passion that Leonie and her entire team bring to the store. Whether you have a cooking question, are looking for some foodie inspiration, or just want to brag about how good your last night's meal was there's always an open ear.