One of the best presents are experiences (sometimes… apart from diamonds and shoes) – so my awesome colleagues treated Jen and I to our birthday surprise for a cooking night at the Sydney Seafood School with Brent Savage of Bentley Restaurant and Bar. I was super excited particularly since I had been over to Bentley not long ago for their dessert degustation.
The night kicks off with a Brent demonstrating how to cook his Pan Roasted Baby Snapper with Sweetcorn, Zucchini Flower, Black Fungi and Cuttlefish Ink in a lecture styled kitchen, then we moved along into an absolutely amazing industrial kitchen where we spilt into teams of 4-6 to cook the dish!
We learn techniques like sweating off vegetables, the different ways of making puree, tricks of rejuvenating zucchini flowers, deboning and cooking fish. The best lesson learnt really is how to use ingredients outside the square, seriously, zucchini flowers, black fungi and cuttlefish ink!? In one dish?! The ink was surprisingly not impossible to attain after all, Jen was scared thinking we had to do this again.
Brent took the time to wander from kitchen to kitchen answering questions, checking sauces and fish and teaching us more techniques (you can catch a blurred glimpse of him checking our fish prep in the photo above!!!)
After cooking our meals, we shuffle into a glamorous dining room furnished with amazing lights made from fishnets of lightbulbs! We set our tables, pop open the matching wines and we’re ready to eat!
Pan roasted baby snapper with sweetcorn, zucchini flower, black fungi and cuttlefish ink
Ta-dah! Our combined efforts compared to Brent’s, which I think is pretty close to the real deal… we were a little generous with the portions though! The recipe is also in Brent’s new book, Bentley Contemporary Cuisine. Brent was absolutely fantastic to work, with as he did rounds of the dining room talking to each group individually, answering questions and signing copies of his new book! He’s so humble and talks so passionately about his food, be sure to visit him at Bentley!
Sydney Seafood School has classes all year round with the occasional handful with restaurant chefs, check their website for more details.
Sydney Seafood School
Sydney Fish Market
Bank St, Pyrmont
Bentley Restaurant & Bar
320 Crown St
Surry Hills, Sydney