Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Masterclass with Matt Moran @ Sydney Seafood School, Fishmarkets, Pyrmont

I have been blessed with wonderful family and friends, who in their ultimate wisdom and knowledge of my passions and hobbies, have been overwhelmingly generous celebrating with me reaching the big 4-0 and have lavished me lots of foodie gifts!  

One of those gifts was a hot date with Matt Moran (okay I had to share him but that's not the point).

Last night found me sitting beside one of my dearest friends A (along with 40 odd other randoms), smiling and laughing along with celebrity chef, Matt Moran at the Sydney Seafood School at the Fishmarkets at Pyrmont.

This was my first time doing
a class at the Sydney Seafood School and I was super excited about doing it with a Celebrity Chef (yeah that sounds naughty!)

We were greeted in reception and ushered through to the lecture style room. Tiered seating offered a great view of the kitchen bench which also offered TV screens and mirrors for added coverage.

After introductions were made (not that any were really needed!) we were regaled of stories of his upcoming Season 2 of Paddock to Plate, along with chef/kitchen stories and of course following instructions on the 3 recipes that he was cooking (which in turn is what we would be cooking following the session).


Matt in action

My mouth was drooling just watching him cook and I have to say watching a chef in action is amazing.  They are so methodic and make it all look so easy. 

After this session were were then ushered into the main kitchen area where we were put in to groups of 6 at a bench and after introductions to our team for the evening we discussed amongst ourselves which dish was being cooked by whom. Two people to a dish. A and I were eager to do the Crab and Pea Risotto.

Everyone ended up helping everyone prepare our ingredients anyway, and we all were chatty and happy as we chopped, diced and sliced.

A having a go at skinning a squid

Matt made his way around to all the benches, overing tips and advice on our dishes, along with some photo bombing.

I really enjoyed this cook.  It was social and fun and learning to cook dishes that I hadn't attempted before.
icing down my peas (and yes I pea'd on the floor!)

This was the first time my friend A had attempted to cook seafood - I think she may just give it a go in her own kitchen now!
During our cooking time, I quickly popped out to purchase yet another cookbook (so don’t need another one right!!!!) and chose Dinner at Matt’s. He was close by to sign my copy and for a quick photo or two. He also signed my huge Birthday badge that A asked me to wear for the evening.

meeting Matt Moran

Matt Moran cookbooks

So what did we cook?
We start with risotto.  A dish that I very rarely eat.  I have attempted risotto in the past and I have always been disappointed in it. It's either to chalky, gluggy or starchy.  Over the past 5 years I haven't been eating alot of starchy carbs (ie bread, pasta or rice) not because of any allergen or dietary issues, just because I have adopted a high protein, low carb approach due to some surgery I had on my tummy.  There are days I wish I could eat a whole bowl of rice or pasta (just never going to happen) *sigh*...anyway I digress......

 Crab & Pea Risotto

 So this is the dish that A and I were allocated.  A did most of the actual cooking of it.  I mainly chopped and threw in the ingredients.

crab and pea risotto

I haven't cooked crab before.  Love to it when the luxury permits.  We used prepacked raw spanner crab (which takes the cooking and picking time out of the equation) and fresh peas.  We all mentioned how shelling fresh peas took us back to our childhood when we used to sit with our mum (or grandma) and shell a big bowl.  One of the ladies on our bench mentioned that her grandma made the kids whistle during the shelling.  Why I asked?  Because if you weren't whistling it meant you were eating the peas!!!! true!!!

I was very taken with this risotto and it's a definite on my recipe radar.

Chilli, Salt & Pepper Squid

chilli squid with fresh lime
Again, calamari is a dish I love to eat when out but never attempted at home.  But that has changed.  this was spicy and the calamari was tender.  Just make sure that your oil is very hot to ensure a crispy batter.

The ladies did a fantastic job, and plating was very pretty.

Steamed Blue-eye Trevalla with garden herbs and Sauce Vierge

blue-eye trevalla

This was surprisingly simple and easy to cook and definitely will be on the menu at a dinner party soon.  I think this is the first time I've taste trevalla.  It's a good meaty white fish but light and so very tasty.  The fresh herbs used are sensational and the tomato, lemon and peppery flavour of the sauce pairs well.

Receipes were easy to follow and plenty of staff on hand to show you where all our ingredients and cookware was placed around the benches.

I have always been wary of cooking seafood at home, mainly because it can be a very expensive protein to stuff up (and easily at that) and there have been plenty of times I've overcooked my fish but after tonight’s cooking class I feel a little more confident that I could do more seafood dishes at home.

Overall, I think we cooked, dished up and plated rather well in the 1 hour time slot and it was lovely to sit down with our ‘team’ and eat our creations ‘family’ style, chatting over a glass of wine and some fine food (if I do say so myself).
A & I celebrate over a glass of wine

The dining room is abuzz with activity.  We have set our own tables and we are to also clear them at the end of the meal.  Helps the staff with clean up.

I love the lighting in the dining room and absolutely love the design of the lights!

lighting in the dining room

If you like cooking, learning new techniques, cooking classes, celebrity chefs and/or seafood, I would recommend booking in to do a class.  The School offers a great current program.

Thanks to A, I and A for the wonderful birthday gift and being able to share this experience my my dear friend.  It was a fabulous night.  I have a feeling we will be back doing another class in the future!

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