With the launch of its latest program of classes, Sydney Seafood School has announced the expansion of its culinary offerings to include “more than seafood”.
“We’ve been teaching Sydney-siders how to prepare all types of seafood in all sorts of ways for over 25 years,” says Seafood School Manager Roberta Muir (the School opened in 1989). “During that time, home cooks have become a lot more adventurous and the face of Sydney Fish Market has changed. People don’t just come here to buy the freshest seafood, we now also have one of Australia’s finest butcher shops, Vic’s Quality Meat, as well as excellent fruit & vegetable and delicatessen offerings.”
“So I thought it was time to look beyond seafood. Of course we’ll still have all of our popular seafood classes, including paella, Singaporean chilli crab, seafood BBQ and Hideo Dekura’s sushi and sashimi workshops … but it’s time we tapped further into the produce, and talent, that’s all around us”.
The School attracts many of Australia’s leading chefs to host classes, and it’s this talent that Muir refers to: “Christine Manfield has been a regular presenter for many years – and one of the things she’s best known for are her desserts, yet we’ve never run a dessert class with her. That’s about to change, with her first ‘Dessert Diva’ workshop scheduled for 3 September.”
Other non-seafood classes are Vegetarian with Brent Savage (17 October), who earlier this year converted his Potts Point bistro, Yellow, into arguably Sydney’s finest vegetarian restaurant; and a Meat Basics workshop in conjunction with Vic’s Quality Meats (7 August).
The School prides itself on its hands-on cooking facilities and Muir confirms that class formats won’t change regardless of the ingredients used. “All our classes start with a cooking demonstration in our tiered theatrette,” Muir explains, “before guests break into small groups to recreate the dishes in our hands-on kitchen. Then everyone sits down to enjoy their creations with a glass of wine. People enjoy the chance to put their new-found skills into practice and to get additional tips from the chef and our experienced assistants while they’re actually cooking. They also enjoy the social aspect of relaxing with their cooking companions over a meal and a drink at the end of the class – we have no intention of changing any of that.”
Of course there’s still a great line up of leading chefs teaching their ways with fish and shellfish, including Mark Best (Marque), Paul Carmichael (momofuku seiōbo), Paul Donnelly (Ms.G’s), Andy Evans (Spice Temple), Lucio Galletto (Lucio’s Italian Restaurant), Dan Hong (Mr Wong), Mark Jensen (Red Lantern), Justin North (Hotel Centennial), Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio), Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater), Michael Rantissi (Kepos St Kitchen), Nelly Robinson (nel.), Nic Wong (Cho Cho San) and Phil Wood (Rockpool). Though it seems they too are looking forward to a chance to expand their class themes in the future. “After years teaching with us, some of our regular chefs are finding it a little tough coming up with new seafood dishes,” Muir explains, “so they’re all really excited about the opportunity to pass on some of their other expertise in future programs. You can rest assured however that - except where we’ve clearly specified otherwise – all our classes are still seafood focused.”