At the core of almost every Australian backyard gathering you’ll find the default cooking instrument, the bastion of Australian outdoor social events, the mighty barbecue
Declan Maguire checks out the BBQ School’s BBQ Seafood class.
The barbecue is the focal point for those who consider themselves to be ‘in the know’ when it comes to the culinary art of outdoor cooking. Packs of observers gather around the metal beast with a glass in hand to observe the resident home chef prod and poke at swathes of meat, seafood and other grilled delights.
There are a great range of barbecue home cooks – at one end you’ll find those who meticulously arrange and time the cooking of each morsel and at the other those who slap on the goods and forget. Personally I would like to position myself closer to the former than the later and there is no better place to get started than the open-air garden at the Shaftson Hotel in Kangaroo Point. Today we were tackling the tricky subject of barbecue seafood.
On arrival I shared a delightful schooner of refreshing, locally brewed beer with a diverse range of participants: couples who wanted to take their entertaining skills up a notch, a group of young Queenslanders at the beginning of a bucks experience and some BBQ aficionados looking for some new ideas.
Once our thirst was quenched we were led into proceedings by Chef Cameron and his team who took the time to ensure we were all comfortable in our aprons and garb. As a BBQ amateur I was assured that no matter our skill level we would be right at home. I was not disappointed. When it comes to live instructional cooking you are at the mercy of the chef, and here we all found ourselves at ease within minutes. Cameron’s style was simple and step by step, not to mention funny.
We started with the basics with the mighty king prawn, which allowed everyone to get some hands-on time. This was followed by the tricky squid and a demonstration in fine knife work on an Asian snapper. Some of the more confident members of the audience were given the opportunity to demonstrate their knife skills on a delightful accompanying paprika and citrus salad.
One of the highlights of the day was the opportunity to eat our own creations. We also got to sample a dish of stunning salmon with korma sauce, perfectly accompanied by a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s famous Marlborough region. It was clear that the menu and sides had been thought out carefully to allow participants of all skill levels and tastes to get involved and take something away from the day.
Aside from the obvious appeal of the class, there came with it some insider knowledge from Chef Cameron who eagerly took ongoing questions, ranging from the best approach to ingredient selection to the right choice of oils for each fish.
As for me, my tongs now sit proudly in the top drawer of my kitchen bench, my new barbecue gleams on the balcony and I cannot wait to unleash my newfound skills on the upcoming Beer and BBQ class.
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