Taking the fear factor out of cooking seafood.
Eat more fish! It’s a refrain you’re probably all too familiar with but many of us lack the confidence to tackle seafood in our own kitchen. That’s where the Sydney Seafood School can help. Every year 13,000 guests attend classes at what has become Australia’s leading cooking school, located above the bustling Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont.
Classes run year-round, covering a host of different cuisines and headed by seasoned professionals, including chefs from some of Sydney’s top restaurants. You’ll spot a handful of celebrity presenters, too – classes by the likes of Dan Hong, Christine Mansfield, Shaun Presland and Guillaume Brahimi are listed among the dozens on offer.
For those keen to master some basics they can replicate at home, the Sensational Simple Seafood class is a winner. On the menu today is an Italian seafood salad, marinated bugs, a clam and glass noodle dish, baked fish wrapped in banana leaves and Mirror Dory fingers with piquillo mayo.
The class kicks off in the tiered auditorium where each dish is prepared by the very capable Coralie Riordan. It’s a sophisticated space with walls lined in Icelandic fish leather and rich oak wood panelling. The marble demonstration bench is under cameras so that guests can enjoy close-ups of the finer details of seafood preparation on four overhead television screens.
Coralie is generous with her insider knowledge, sharing tips on deveining prawns, dehooding squid and softening banana leaves to avoid splitting. You’ll learn how to identify fresh seafood, what to substitute if you can’t find recipe items and how to time your cooking so that each dish arrives at the table in top form.
Armed with your recipes and notes, you head into the adjoining student kitchen where groups of five or six gather around the stainless steel cooking islands for some hands-on fun. Each island is fully equipped – all the ingredients are set out and the friendly staff are ready to offer help when required.
It’s surprisingly quick and easy to whip up the five dishes and in less than an hour you’ll find yourself pouring glasses of wine in the next door dining room, leaving the washing up for the obliging staff. Fishnet chandeliers and a photomural of Blackwattle Bay create a warm and inviting space to enjoy your seafood creations.
And before you head home, why not check out the markets and pick up some fresh seafood so you can practise your newly acquired cooking skills?
By Kate Farrelly
Classes at the Sydney Seafood School run for two to four hours and cost between $90 and $165 per person. A full list of classes with dates and prices is available at www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au
Sydney Seafood School
t: (02) 9004 1111
a: First floor of the Waterfront Arcade, Sydney Fish Market, Bank St, Pyrmont