Korean fermentation sensation Chae gets green light to host tours and tastings in Cockatoo

Jung Eun Chae will welcome guests to her new home in Cockatoo for tours, tastings and more from September.
Jung Eun Chae will welcome guests to her new home in Cockatoo for tours, tastings and more from September. Photo: Mark Fergus


After nearly a year of bureaucratic headaches, Jung Eun Chae, owner of one of Melbourne’s most ambitious restaurants, Chae, is about to fulfil her dream of welcoming guests to her property in Cockatoo for an immersive experience of Korean slow food.

Chae and partner Yoora Yoon moved to the 2208-square-metre property near the Dandenong Ranges last October, but their restaurant plans were stalled by local council planning permits. The delays forced them to relocate the restaurant to Carlton pub the Lincoln, where they’ve operated a pop-up since April.

But from the first weekend of September, six guests at a time will be able to tour their garden and see the ferments that provide source material for Chae’s menus.

The chef will talk through the complex processes that go into her Korean dishes, before inviting guests to watch a cooking demonstration and sample a five- to six-course menu, accompanied by makgeolli (sparkling rice wine) and non-alcoholic fermented drinks. The whole experience costs just $90.

Chae started life as a six-seat tasting menu restaurant in the couple’s tiny Brunswick apartment in early 2020. It quickly attracted attention for the window it offered into a style of Korean cuisine rarely seen in Australia, underpinned by ingredients that required years of patient preparation.

The experience at Cockatoo moves away from a restaurant visit to something even more rewarding for diners.

“I think it works out to be better,” says Yoon. “We wanted to share the experience of the process anyway, as opposed to just serving.”

Bookings open August 1 for September.

Experiences available Friday 6pm, Saturday 1pm and 6pm, Sunday 1pm.

33 Mountain Road, Cockatoo, chae.com.au

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