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Sydney Seafood School
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Seafood Cooking Class at Sydney Fish Market
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Owner description: With 13,000 guests a year attending classes, Sydney Seafood School is Australia’s leading cooking school. It was established in 1989, when Sydney’s food obsession was in its infancy; French was the largest category in leading restaurant guides and Asian flavours, taken for granted today, were still considered exotic. The NSW fishing fleet caught plenty of whiting, bream, snapper and flathead to supply the local market. But in doing so, they also netted octopus, squid, red mullet, crabs, mussels and other species with which shoppers weren’t familiar … at least not familiar enough to take them home and cook them. A large part of the fishermen’s catch was unwanted and sold as bait or for next to nothing to those who did appreciate it. Initially established to create a demand for these more unusual species, the School has slowly broadened its reach to teach local, interstate and overseas food-lovers how to cook a huge variety of cuisines. While seafood is still its raison d'être, there's no longer any need to convince most people to try cooking with mussels, octopus or crabs, in fact abalone, sashimi, pipis and sea-snails don't daunt many of the food-savvy guests who now fill classes most weekday evenings and weekends. Asian flavours are in demand, with a class beginning in the Thai shops of Chinatown among the most popular; and leading Australian chefs, including Christine Manfield, Matthew Moran and Guillaume Brahimi, are among the School’s presenters. All classes commence in the School’s tiered auditorium with a demonstration of the dish or dishes to be prepared. It may look easy in skilled hands, but recreating it later in your own kitchen can be quite another thing. This is where Sydney Seafood School is unique … after watching the demonstration, guests roll up their sleeves and, in groups of five with guidance from the presenter and assistants, recreate the dishes, preparing a delicious seafood meal which they then sit down and enjoy with a complimentary wine tasting. To celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2009, the School underwent a major refurbishment by leading designer Michael McCann of dreamtime australia design, making it Australia’s most beautiful cooking school with a stunning sandstone entry wall by award-winning sculptor Michael Purdy, Icelandic fish leather lining the auditorium, and wild ‘blackboard graffiti’ on the hands-on kitchen walls. Rich oak wood panelling, an aubergine-hued marble demonstration bench, sleek stainless steel and lots of glass complete the look. Guests cook at custom-made, stainless steel cooking islands fitted with state-of-the-art Fisher & Paykel appliances, including a gas CookSurface, oven, refrigeration unit and extraction system. Hettich soft close drawers, hinges and runners ensure all cabinetry opens and closes smoothly and silently and 46" High Definition LCD Sharp television screens above the demonstration bench ensure a perfect view of all the cooking action.Once the cooking's over, guests adjourn to the dining room which features a 180º photomural of Blackwattle Bay and fishnet chandeliers with over 6,000 gently glowing globes. It's casual but comfortable with cloth serviettes, Villeroy & Boch china and Spiegelau glassware, plus coffee from the School's Nespresso coffee machines. Sydney Seafood School conducts a wide range of classes for all skill levels, from a simple paella or stir-fry to the more complex weekend workshops with leading chefs. A vast array of cuisines and cooking styles are covered, including the School's most popular class, Seafood BBQ, using built-in 5-burner Beefeater gas barbecues and scheduled five or six times a month to keep up with demand!
Reviewed 6 February 2013

In Sept 2012 I flew from Texas to Sydney, and had a SSS class booked for that first night. I highly recommend taking ANY class you can get in to; they are very popular. The first part of the class was lecture along with demonstration of what we would be preparing, cooking and eating. We then moved into the prep galley area which had several stations for 4-5 people each to work. We each had our own job to do, and as I was exhausted from travel, I asked NOT to be in charge of sharp knives. Once the food was plated at the stations, we moved into a lovely dining area to sit and enjoy our freshly prepared dishes along with wine, included in the cost. The end result of the dishes we prepared and cooked was excellent; one of the nicer cooking classes I've taken. I highly recommend this activity.

Thank BarbaraMomNana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (47)
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36 - 40 of 47 reviews

Reviewed 14 January 2013

I recently participated in a Paella cooking class with Bridget and have enrolled in a sushi and sashimi class for March. The Sydney Seafood School and its cooking classes are a real experience for anyone who wishes to improve their ability to prepare seafood well. The facilities are exceptional, the documentation simple but complete, and the staff knowledgeable. The instructor for my class, Bridget, was clear in providing instruction about the recipe, but valued-added with her advice about many aspects of cooking. I have attempted paella before but found the class to be excellent in nuancing the dish. I followed up the class by cooking a meal for friends a couple of days later. I used my barbecue and while the meal was simple to prepare, it did take me time to achieve temperature control that is was comfortable with. I was able to "wow" my friends and to me that was the true test ... being able to replicate a meal following instruction completely on my own. I am so looking forward to the next class, and may well add more. It was also the first time that I had visited the Sydney Seafood Market and I am sure that I will become a regular visitor in the future. My appreciation to Bridget and all the good people at the SSM :)

2  Thank RedRoosta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 October 2012

We did the BBQ cooking class at the Sydney Seafood School today. Unlike Groucho's comments earlier we greatly enjoyed the experience. The format is straightforward: the dishes are demonstrated by a cooking teacher then we are let loose to replicate the beautiful dishes and after that we sat don and enjoyed our efforts with a nice bottle of wine. The lady demonstrating the cooking was excellent and had some great tips. The fish was fresh and just spectacular. By the time you have watched, cooked and eaten, you have had a great meal and been entertained and educated!

1  Thank Sydneysida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2012

This was so much fun and the classroom and kitchen facilites age really great. We had Bridget as our instructor for our class on Japanese tempura and tepinaki cooking. She did a great job of demonstrating and then we all moved to the kitchen area where 4 of us shared a station and began preparing vegetables and a variety of really great fresh seafood. After about an hour we were all done and we moved to the dining room where we sat at shared tables and ate our feast complete with a lovely glass of wine.

This would be a great experience for singles wanting to meet others, couples or groups of friends or even a company team work experience.

1  Thank Chris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2012

Did a class on Saturday at the Seafood School, the chef for the day was Justin North of Masterchef Fame so it was a full class.
Just was a great demonstrator and was happy to answer questions from the class.
The Hands-on part was loads of fun, got to learn a few good recipes and used ingredients we hadnt used before, even though I was on my own I found people to cook with and it turned out well.
Only thing it would be nice if the people who work there and come around to help you would smile sometimes.

Thank TPereiraSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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