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Seafood Lovers’ Course

It’s a passion. A passion for being on the beach around the rockpools and gullies. A love of screaming seagulls and terns. A craving for shrimps, prawns, crabs, lobsters, winkles, whelks, oysters and cockles. Big winter cod, heavy in the belly, cavernous in the mouth. Spring bass, spiny shards of silver. Autumn herring, scaly green-backs flapping knee-deep on the deck.

Oyster Education

This course is for those who want to catch it, cook it and keep it! The course is delivered by the founder of Oyster Education, Neil Cleminson, and you will get a unique day. Neil was in his father’s fishing boat at the age of four. Now working a 28 foot modern catamaran, you will receive instruction from a professional fisherman, talented cook and proven teacher.

Oyster EducationCould you help to empty and rebait lobster pots and prawn pots in the boat? Could you pick Dover soles out of a net? Could you catch prawns and shrimps in the bays, or could you forage over the rock pools with the surf running? There is no certainty here; this is fishing. The course responds to wind and tide; what works one day may not work the next. But through this uncertainty comes clarity. Having spent 2-3 hours catching, you will return to a classroom for the instruction on preparing and cooking. Live shellfish will have been caught and kept alive for your day. Fish will be prepared that are so fresh, you may never look at a supermarket display again. Did you know that ‘fresh fish’ can be sold which has been 10 days at sea on ice?

Typical morning phase:

  • 08:00 Meet in a beach cafe for coffee and a welcome. Safety brief
  • 08:30 Move to beach location as the tide drops to low water
  • Help lift and empty various overnight pots and traps. Assist as our fishing vessel drops off more pots from further offshore. See what a fisherman is looking for as he handles the catch, all done with ongoing participation and commentary from Neil. Possibility of a trip aboard ‘Hetty’ when conditions are good
  • Forage for crabs, shrimps and prawns with nets
  • Return to cook the catch and a snack lunch

Typical afternoon phase

  • How to select live crabs, then cook and dress them
  • Lobsters: selection, cooking, dressing
  • Live whelks: cooking and cleaning
  • Live cockles: cooking and cleaning
  • Dover soles: skinning and cooking
  • Seafood tea
  • Depart with box of seafood you have prepared.

Another day could involve a forage on the shore followed by the classroom; we only go out in the boat when conditions are perfect.

Options include:

  • Smoking of salmon and trout (hot and cold)
  • Preparation and cooking of squid
  • Batter and deep fat frying
  • How to cook and peel shrimps and prawns including potted shrimps
  • Selection and preparation of large fish eg cod, bass, skate,
Neil with a good Dover sole
Neil with a good Dover sole

At the end of the day you should have gained significant inside knowledge about live shellfish and seafood. You will receive a booklet summarising the preparation and cooking points so you don’t have to take notes.

The course is designed to give you the confidence to buy live shellfish and other seafoods and prepare them, safely, to high standards. Only when you buy live do you realise what you have been missing!

Parties and corporate: please contact Oyster to arrange your own special day. We have plenty of dates available outside July and August and can deal with larger numbers

Age range: from 10 upwards. Children under 16 must be with an adult.

Suitable for: students of all abilities. Although aerobic fitness is not required, applicants should be sound on their feet and happy to walk over rocky beaches or be on a boat. Opting out is always possible at any stage.

Capacity: 6 – but larger group bookings including overnight stays and seafood feasts can be made by arrangement.

Location: East Kent coast (Ramsgate, Margate and Kingsgate).

Please note that alcohol is by arrangement only and is not appropriate during the instructional phases.

Fee for all meals, transport and instruction: £175

Contact us! We have excellent relationships with The Botany Bay Hotel in Kingsgate, The Walpole Hotel in Margate, and The Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate, all in outstanding seaside locations.

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Booking policy: payment in full on booking. Places may be transferred (i.e. to a friend or relative) but there are no refunds in the event of cancellation by the applicant. It is advised that insurance is taken out to cover non-attendance due to injury or illness.