The Essential Ingredient Prahran

Contact Details

Prahran Market

Elizabeth St, South Yarra, VIC 3141

(03) 9827 9047 Get Directions
Opening Hours
Monday Closed
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm
Saturday 8am - 4pm
Sunday 10am - 3pm
Closed Public Holidays.
What makes our store so special?

Public car parking is available via Elizabeth Street.

Gift hampers and gift wrapping

About Our Store

POWER OUTAGE - Wednesday 10th July 2024

Customers please note, there will be no access to The Essential Ingredient, nor telephone communication on Wednesday 10th July due to power upgrade works in the building.

Our South Melbourne store is open and trading on this day from 9am - 4pm at 266 Coventry Street. Their contact number is 03 9682 3414 should you require any service on this day.  

We apologise for any inconvenience.


In 1990, a small family-owned and operated specialty ingredient store embarked on a journey in the heart of South Melbourne, namely, The Vital Ingredient. This marked the humble beginnings of a business that would come to represent a culinary bridge between continents. This unassuming store, founded by Syd and Susan Weddell - both passionate food enthusiasts - set out to source exquisite ingredients from the far corners of Italy, Spain and France and the bountiful farms throughout Australia. At that time, a simple Sunny Boy ice block could be bought for mere cents, Tiny Teddy’s hit our shelves and soon after, Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander and Donna Hay were tempting us with Middle Eastern, Chinese and European flavours to cook at home. It could be said however, that most of Australia still thought Curry was a surname!

Over the years, Melbourne has evolved into a vibrant culinary melting pot, embracing international cuisines with open arms. The Vital Ingredient (now The Essential Ingredient) has played a pivotal role in this gastronomic evolution, introducing the flavours of Europe to those wanting to embrace the new wave of global food trends using ingredients made with time-honoured techniques.   With dedication and an unwavering commitment to quality, the business has flourished, becoming a trusted supplier to some of the finest restaurants, hotels, and caterers across Australia. The best-of-the-best deserves the best FROM the best, which is why our client list may include your local, artisanal deli or specialty food store. The journey has been fuelled by a team of specialty staff who are not only brilliant home cooks but also obsessed foodies. Top that with the knowledge of our chefs on staff and The Essential Ingredient is your open cookbook, your real, live glossary of all things for your kitchen and dining know-how.

Our Prahran store is conveniently located adjacent to the bustling Prahran Market which provides a sun-drenched outdoor plaza featuring live music and activities for kids. South Melbourne offers a more tailored and streamlined store, just a short stroll from the South Melbourne Market with easy parking along one of the area’s most popular shopping strips.

As a market leader in specialty foods, cookware, dinnerware, and culinary books we celebrate our shared passion for all things food, and it is this passion that we bring to every aspect of our business. We invite you to experience the joy of better cooking at The Essential Ingredient.


For Career Opportunities in our Victorian Retail Stores and Wholesale Division please email your resume to


    Our lovingly curated gift boxes are  available at both our Prahran and South Melbourne stores. Click here to view our range (note that both Ottolenghi's Essentials, French Summer and Sweet Indulgence Gift Boxes are sold out).

    Corporate enquiries are welcome.

    Email -
    Phone - (03) 9827 9047 

    Knife Sharpening Service

    Knife Sharpening is available for your precious knives in our Prahran store ONLY. Leave your knives with us by close of business on the first Thursday of every month and they will be sharpened and ready to collect the following Saturday from 10.30am. Fees apply and are determined by the size of your knife and any damage to the blade.

    Prahran Cooking Events

    We have on-going delicious in-store tastings and interactions in our Prahran store for you to experience.
    For Corporate Events in our purpose built Demonstration Kitchen please get in touch.  All enquiries are welcome.

    Please contact Sam Francis - Retail Manager.
    Phone: (03) 9827 9047