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“great experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sydney Seafood School

Sydney Seafood School
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Attraction details
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!
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
54 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“great experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2011

I took the Seafood BBQ course, really first class facilities, instructions and hands on experience. The "class" is for about 40 people, but it still feels intimate. The teacher was a bit nervy, edgy 40 something from Sydney - but still very good. You then break off into small groups of about 7 for the hands on. Very well organized with lots of helpers on hand. Then you sit down for a dinner to enjoy the meal. Really loved it.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank James G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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40 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“nice day out - educational and yummy”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2011

I got "talked into" going with my wife, must say I really enjoyed it. The demo part was a bit long winded for (I have short attention span and get bored easily) me, but informative and I learnt some stuff
The cooking part was great fun, hectic, but very enjoyable. The eating what you cooked bit at the end was nice, good dining room, nice wine (good quality too)

Overall, I would do it all again, found it proffesional, well organised and very enjoyablem

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
5 Thank sheermyst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
60 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“A non tasting cooking school”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 17, 2011

I signed up for the Sydney Seafood School's Barbeque Seafood class and attended last Saturday. It is a good format; the dishes are cooked by a demonstrator, then you go to an adjacent kitchen and cook them for yourself. At the conclusion of the demonstration when most of the class had gone to the kitchen I asked the demonstrator if I could taste one dish, a BBQ Squid with Thai dressing. She became very annoyed , started yelling about Occupational Health & Safety and said tasting was not allowed. A lawyer in our group laughed at this so she then said 'if I let you taste it they will all want to!' So, unless you are a fan of blindfolded art galleries, concerts where you wear earplugs, flower shows where you block your nose you might want to avoid the Sydney Seafood Cooking school until they do what they claim. Every other cooking school wants you to taste the food so you know what to create.

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank GrouchoSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RobertaSydney, Manager at Sydney Seafood School, responded to this review, November 15, 2011
I'm glad GrouchoSydney enjoyed the format of our Seafood BBQ class - it is our most popular class.
Regarding not being able to taste the demonstrated dishes:
- unlike most cooking schools we don't offer tastings - instead our guests actually cook the demonstrated dishes then go and sit down in our dining room and eat what they've prepared with a glass of wine
The issue with guests tasting dishes is 3 fold:
- it is a HACCP (food safety) issue, rather than an OH&S one - Sydney Fish Market has an externally-audited HACCP program which covers all aspects of food handling - it doesn't cover preparation of food for guests to eat, as we don't prepare food for guests to eat, they prepare it for themselves
- we don't prepare enough food for all guests to have a taste as guests cook the dishes themselves, therefore we ask all guests not to taste as it isn't fair for one to do it if everyone can't
I hope GrouchoSydney enjoyed the rest of the class - the hands-on cooking and the meal afterwards with wine and coffee and chocolates to finish (plus the apron and insulated goody bag to take home). I also hope he noted his concern regarding the behaviour of the demonstrator on the survey form at the end of the class and listed his contact details - as any negative comments are always followed up with the guest and the staff member concerned. We value all customer feedback, especially any that helps us improve the experience we offer our guests.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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