Sydney Seafood School Cookbook


Sydney is doubly blessed as far as seafood goes. Not only does it have access to one on the greatest selection of fish and seafood anywhere on this planet, but it also has the famed Sydney Fish Market where retailers, chefs and the general public can come every day to sift through the glistening hauls brought in by fisherfolk from up and down the coastlines and far out to sea.

But then we have to realise that there are several other components, too, that make this city a seafood-lovers paradise. Situated right at the markets is the Sydney Seafood School which for more than twenty years has been patiently, accurately, educating locals and visitors in the best, the finest, the most innovative ways to use the produce that crosses the auction hall floors.

The school taps into yet another key to Sydney's good fortune, by luring chefs from restaurants serving everything from Chinese to Indian to French and Japanese cuisines into leaving their kitchens to come into the state-of-the-art Seafood School kitchens and share their expertise.

Heading up this school over the years as manager has been Roberta Muir, who has calmly organised hundreds of classes and thousands of students, tirelessly promoting it and Australian seafood, and coordinating the many facets of the school.

She should not have been able to find the time to put this book together, but somehow she has. And we should all be grateful to her.

Drawing on the people who have so generously shared their knowledge in classes, she convinced them to share their recipes in this book. And what a lineup she has assembled!

Kylie Kwong's sumptuous steamed whole coral trout with ginger and spring onions, is here, along with Matt Moran's scampi in brik pastry with aioli and gremolata. Flick through a few pages and there is Neil Perry and his bar rock cod tagine, and Pete Evan's garlic prawns, as well as Tetsuya's crudo of leatherjacket.

Of course any good school imparts not just information, but techniques as well, and so here you have all the tricks of the fish chef's repertoire: butterflying fish, shucking oysters, cleaning squid and octopus, preparing crabs and other shellfish, and much more.

And, as if all this is not enough, photographer Alan Benson's sumptuous photographs provide the final irresistible reason to have this book.

Just in time for Christmas and summer barbecues and entertaining, this book - beautifully illustrated with photographer Alan Benson's sumptuous photographs and worthy of a spot on the coffee table - will most likely stay instead where it will be used constantly. In the kitchen.

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

Sydney Seafood School Cookbook, by Roberta Muir, published by Lantern, an imprint of Penguin Books, hardback, October 2012, rrp A$49.99, ISBN 978 192138 2765.


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