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Sydney Seafood School

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Giovanni Pilu

Sydney Seafood School is Australia’s largest cooking school, with hands-on facilities for up to 50 guests. But sometimes people request a smaller, more intimate class says the School’s Manager, Roberta Muir. “I’m very excited to be launching a new style of class this program,” Muir adds, “with a more intimate format and a maximum of 20 guests, who will spend more time in hands-on cooking and finish by sitting down to enjoy their meal with the chefs.”

The first is a 3-course dinner with matched wines presented by Sardinian chef Giovanni Pilu from Pilu at Freshwater and his award-winning sommelier, Lara Caraturo. Guests will work in pairs to prepare three Sardinian-inspired courses (including dessert, an unusual touch for a cooking school focused on seafood), then sit down with Giovanni and Lara to enjoy their meal and discuss the food and wine matches.

Foraging is part of the new food ethos – it’s local, it’s organic, it’s seasonal and it’s fun. The world’s leading chefs, from Rene Redzepi of Noma (#1 on The World’s 100 Best Restaurants list) to Ben Shewry of Attica (The Age Good Food Guide’s Chef of the Year), have put foraged food on the menu and on the map. So Muir has devised a foraged food class in this more intimate style with two of Sydney’s keenest foraging chefs, Darren Robertson (previously head chef of Tetsuya’s) and Mike Eggert (previously of Billy Kwong, now at Duke Bistro). Guests will prepare dishes using ingredients foraged by the chefs, then sit down with Darren and Mike to enjoy their meal with a glass of wine and continue the foraging discussion.

Of course there’s also a whole host of other leading Sydney chefs sharing their kitchen secrets in the School’s regular format (demonstration followed by hands-on in groups of 4-6 in the School’s state-of-the-art kitchen). Mark Best from Marque Restaurant (#70 on The World’s 100 Best Restaurants list) kicks things of on 3 November, followed by Jonathan Barthelmess (at Manly Pavilion until the end of this year), Dan Hong (Ms.G’s), Stephen Hodges (Fishface), Christine Manfield (Universal), Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio at the Spit & Spiedo Restaurant & Bar), Somer Sivrioglu (Efendy Restaurant), Damien Pignolet (Bistro Moncur), Lucio Galletto (Lucio’s Italian Restaurant), Shaun Presland (Saké), and Mark Jensen (Red Lantern).

sydney seafood school

Plus early 2012 sees three leading Melbourne chefs head north to conduct classes: Ben Shewry from Attica (#53 on The World’s 100 Best Restaurants list) makes his Seafood School debut on 4 February; Frank Camorra from MoVida, a big hit on the School’s last program, returns on 21 January; and Cheong Liew from The Botanical, a regular presenter during his days at The Grange in Adelaide, is back with more of his unique fusion of Asian and European cuisines on 18 February.

Muir says: “Another new format is the Saturday night Quick and Delicious class - a chance to combine cooking with a social Saturday night out. Kick off with seafood canapés and wine before whipping up three quick and delicious seafood dishes perfect for casual entertaining, then relax over dinner with another glass of wine. And if you book a bench of 6 people for this class, you only pay for 5.”

Kids are keener than ever to get into the kitchen and during the Christmas school holidays the School is offering a 3-hour hands-on cooking class specifically for teenagers aged 13-17 years old.

And thinking of Christmas - the School’s gift certificates are the perfect Christmas gift for the hard-to-shop-for foodie in your life; they’re available for any amount and valid for 12 months, can be purchased and printed online or ordered over the phone.

The November-February program of classes and latest FISHline News can be viewed at Classes can be booked online and gift certificates purchased from the website.


About Sydney Seafood School

With over 12,000 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!

Sydney Seafood School classes include:

• Demonstration by a leading chef or seafood educator
• Hands-on cooking session
• Seafood meal with wine tasting
• Parking
• Sydney Seafood School apron, insulated carry bag and recipe kit to take home

Browse our programs by selecting a month from the menu below.



To book a class online click here


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