A few weekends ago, I went down to London for a rather special cookery class - a sashimi and sushi workshop at the famous Billingsgate Seafood School. Although I suppose no cooking was to be involved for this one; instead we were led by talented sushi chef Silla Bjerrum through lessons in handling and sourcing seafood, flavour combinations, how to roll and all important knife skills. I couldn't wait to get started...
With an early Saturday start, I was greeted at Billingsgate Seafood School at 8.30am with a cup of tea and an introduction to the class. It's not very well sign posted when you're there, but a friendly member of staff directed me upstairs to room 30 for the classes - so just head for there if you have a workshop planned!
Sushi fans may have heard of Silla as founder and executive chef of Feng Sushi - a restaurant on my ever growing London list! With years of experience, we were in talented hands as we learnt how to become masters of sushi and sashimi. Silla is also very interested in sustainability of fish and seafood, so it was great that she knew her stuff and was conscious about where it all came from. In particular, she loves to work with lesser known fish to showcase how we can broaden our tastes and help overfishing.
The course began with an insight into sushi rice production and how to cook it like a pro.
We then began with vegetarian maki rolls with avocado and cucumber - just to get the basics down!
Next up - an insideout roll! These are the classic Californian roll but instead of so called "seafood sticks" we were treated to some delicious Devon crab to fill them.
After a morning of makis and futomakis - we were on a roll (ha ha...). We were shown how to fillet and cure a mackerel fillet and then went for a short tea break at around 10. For this we used traditional Japanese flavours as well as sea salt to add flavour and kill any bacteria on the surface.
Back we came to our beautiful mackerel fillets to find Silla bringing out a stunning Loch Duart salmon and sharpening some sushi knives. She explained the process of farming for sashimi grade salmon an had great knowledge of Loch Duart produce itself. Next we saw some pro filleting ready for us to have a go at sashimi for ourselves. For those that don't know, sashimi is finely sliced raw fish which is safe to eat with a dash of wasabi and soy sauce.
Did I do okay? This is so much harder than Silla makes it look and made even scarier with a super sharp knive! We then placed the sashimi onto balls of rice to create the popular salmon nigiri. (Don't worry, if you see this in supermarkets it will most likely be smoked salmon and not raw fish).
This is when all our skills came together for a bit of fun with flavours! We had a go at a mackerel nigiri, crab, asparagus and mango rolls and spicy tuna rolls. It was great fun adding extra ingredients to each end of the roll to create a real show piece!
Notice the tubs of sushi building up behind me? You get to take a lot home!
And of course a celebratory glass of wine for our star sushi efforts!
As you can imagine, we made a lot of sushi! This meant I could take a whole feast of veggie and seafood sushi and sashimi delights back home for a Japanese banquet. Of course you can sample your work throughout the day so definitely don't leave hungry either.
Having survived the tube and train home, I got out my best serving platter and delved into my creations. This is only about 75% of the sushi, so you definitely want to invite friends round on that day! At £168 for the day, you certainly have to be serious about sushi, or have someone who has bought you a brilliant gift, but with the amount you take home it's really like getting a sushi workshop and then a high quality meal for four included.
A big thanks to Silla and Billingsgate Seafood School for having me. It's a very fun packed and organised day with lots to learn and of course lots of fabulous produce to eat!
Have you ever been to a sushi class? What other cookery workshops have you been to? Read about other cookery courses I've been on over in my reviews section.
Nearest tube: Canary Wharf with a 10-15 minute walk.
Note: I paid for my sushi course at a reduced press rate. All thoughts and opinions are my own.