The Essential Ingredient’s Victorian operations commenced in 1990, trading as The Vital Ingredient in South Melbourne. Meanwhile, its Sydney counterpart traded as The Essential Ingredient. After years of expansion, The Vital Ingredient relocated to a larger site at Prahran Market, Melbourne’s oldest food-only market. The Vital Ingredient also changed its trading name to The Essential Ingredient as part of a national alliance with Sydney.
The Essential Ingredient Prahran’s wholesale arm has been servicing Victoria’s restaurant trade and elite chefs for well over twenty years and is widely considered to hold expert knowledge of the world’s best single ingredients.
The Essential Ingredient is widely known for its extensive range of specialty foods, cookware and culinary books. Its Prahran store is also home to a highly respected cooking school that has taught enthusiastic home cooks who want to shop where chefs shop since 1997. The Essential Ingredient Prahran is jointly owned and led by its directors, Maria Tsihlakis and Susan Weddell.