When my sweet friends Ordette and Paul and Carol and Greg and Karen and Faith asked me what I wanted for my birthday earlier in the year, I said: "Please, no more THINGS! I've got more than enough 'stuff' - it's experiences that I treasure most..."
And their response was perfect: a gift voucher to the
Sydney Seafood School at the Fish Markets in Pyrmont.
So I had a look at the program for the year and the selection of fine chefs they have on rotation, settling at last on Christine Manfield. Her unique style of international cuisine was especially appealing to me - she has taught cooking and created exemplary restaurants in both Europe and Australia and her latest venture is Universal Restaurant, situated in East Sydney - at Republic 2 Courtyard in Palmer Street (between Burton and Liverpool streets) Darlinghurst 2010.
For bookings, Phone: 02 9331 0709.
The Seafood School class was excellent. Christine Manfield's presentation was very smooth and professional - as you'd expect from a chef of her calibre - and her good relationship with a great team of support staff was very evident. The kitchen auditorium and cooking stations were very well laid out - I think there were about 40 people in the class, but it didn't feel crowded at all. The demonstration took about two hours where Christine cooked each of the dishes, explaining the ingredients and methods, with a few tips and trade secrets thrown in. The demonstration kitchen in the auditorium had mirrors over the bench, so it was easy to watch all stages of the process clearly.
After the Demo, we progressed into the kitchen, forming groups of five around island benches dotted around a big open room, with each member of the group electing to cook one of the dishes, making enough for all five members.
Drum-roll pur-leeze! - here's what we made:
Garlic Saffron Mussel Soup
Oyster and Soba Noodle Salad
Palm Sugar and Green Mango Fish
Deep-Fried Fish pieces
Crab Fried Rice
Comprehensive notes and recipes were provided, so we can reproduce these gems at home.
When we had co-ordinated getting all dishes to peak at the same time, we proceeded to the dining room to enjoy the fruits of our labours. The dinner was complimented by a $100 bottle of fine champagne, which was lost on me as I don't drink alcohol - but they also had bottles of Perrier freely available.
In summary, I have to say the whole experience was an absolute delight - I can definitely recommend doing a class at the Sydney Seafood School - and THANK YOU to my beautiful friends for thinking of sending me on such a sumptuous experience!
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