Posted 22nd November 2013
There are some serious benefits to my boyfriend’s dad’s favourite hobby being fishing – tasty, fresh fish being one of them. The downside to this is the overwhelming sense of shame as I hack apart a fish through my complete lack of filleting knowledge and skill.
After confessing my shame to the lovely people at Source Food Hall, I was overjoyed to be invited to one of their regular fish filleting courses. It sounded perfect for a clueless but enthusiastic fish lover just like me. Whilst my place was complimentary, the course sounded like such a bargain I also purchased a ticket for my boyfriend… £35 for two hours and you get to keep the knife and the fish!
The evening’s lesson kicked off at about 6.30pm, a group of six of us were under the care and supervision of Source Food Hall’s head chef, Ross Wills and resident butcher Paul.
Our teachers explained to us how we can choose the freshest fish and gave us some background on the sourcing and sustainability of the fish you can buy at Source Food Hall as well.
Enough theory – time for the practical! The lesson covered filleting round and flat fish. First up was the round fish, a mackerel. The teacher demonstrated how to fillet one first, and then the whole group did it together whilst he and Ross went round helping us one by one.
I won’t say it was easy – but it definitely got easier as we grew more confident with our filleting knives and with the anatomy of the fish. Whilst perhaps a little on the small side and with a bit too much fish left on the bone, for a first attempt I didn’t think our mackerel fillets were half bad!
Next up, the flat fish, a plaice. Now this one looked much trickier! By this stage though, we’d had a bit of practice and it was actually easier than anticipated!
To finish up, Ross talked us through how to cook the fish perfectly and we got to try some of the fillets for ourselves. The fish really did taste beautiful. Wonderfully fresh, and so simple! Our fish were cooked for just a couple of minutes and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Proof that great ingredients really do speak for themselves.
All in all a fantastic evening. We left with four fillets each (two mackerel, two plaice), some bones to make into fish stock and a fish filleting knife each.
Verdict: A great way to learn the basics in a small intimate setting. To get so much one-on-one time with Paul and Ross in addition to the knife and all the fish was brilliant value at just £35ea.