Issue No. 64 - April/May 2012
Claire’s vision: a strategy that sticks
Sticky Rice Cooking School is more than that: Claire Fuller’s innovative and multifaceted business model is an exemplar showing how to approach the Adelaide Hills gourmet opportunity.
The school, founded at Stirling in 2008, regularly features on national lifestyle TV programs and offers 22 classes a month to the public with more for corporate clients.
“The idea came from my frustration as a ‘consumer’ of cooking classes and the lack of good ones in SA - especially specialising in my passion for Thai food,” Claire says.
“The idea of being taught by anything less than a professional chef was also off-putting for me as a consumer and so the idea started to form for our product being taught by top professional guest chefs. The operational model was a checklist of all the things I didn’t like about other classes I had been to: comfort, authentically pleasing design, sit down meal, wine, music, ambience, etc.
“I wanted a dedicated space for learning, not a shared space, and a class format that was always going to run as a hands on class, not demonstration; the kitchen design was defined by this.”
Next, Claire’s accounting , business and IT skills came into play. A former executive with ABB (now Viterra) she scoped key specs such as preferred number per class and requirements for dining room seating.
“I was also lucky enough to find a cooking school in Queensland (Spirit House) which was doing it really well and I approached them for advice. They invited me up to stay and I spent two days ‘behind the scenes’ brainstorming my ideas with them. This...