‘I can’t think of any other food that turns us all more kitten-in-a-basket gooey than a fish-cake. We’re wooed by its golden crust, delighted that its about mash, and reassured by its round cake-like shape – but by the end of the weekend we aim to have you loving real and truly fresh seafood, and in all its magnificent forms, head, tail, fins, claws and all.’
Begin to cook, improve your fish cookery or simply watch, do nothing and eat. A G Hendy & Co offer exclusive seafood cookery workshops by the sea in Hastings Old Town. With just a three-minute walk to Hastings’ fishing fleet, the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in the UK, with its handsome old net huts and a daily catch, you have the gift of the sea on your doorstep. The intimate course is run by celebrated chef Alastair Hendy, and offers simple, hands-on lessons on how to prepare, cook and really enjoy seafood. Far away from the bustle of your busy life, we offer arresting escape in a truly unique kitchen, home and setting; and with With Alastair at the helm, you are in for a very delicious and highly visual treat.
‘Fish needs the simplest of treatment and the speediest of cooking. It’s true fast food. From pan-searing fillets, to steaming, frying and grilling whole fish, then baking fish in a classic fish pie, you’ll experience all ways on the cooking front. Another way is roasting: nothing could be more effortless. You only have to rub your fish inside and out with very few things – salt, pepper, some herbs and olive oil – and set him proudly on a roasting tray, stuff more herbs in his belly, and give him moments in your fiercest oven to make supper. Any fish will do. Then it’s just a squirt with the lemon, and time to devour – with a little quick something-gorgeous on the side. Ahhh, then there’s fish-cakes. I can’t think of any other food that turns us all more kitten-in-a-basket gooey than a fish-cake. We’re wooed by its golden crust, delighted that its about mash, and reassured by its round cake-like shape – in effect, made completely comfy by the fact it bears no relation to a fish. Even something out of a chip shop – a fish-cake in name only – we’ll eat with the same gusto. Nothing wrong in that, but by the end of the weekend we aim to have you loving real and truly fresh seafood, and in all its magnificent forms, head, tail, fins, claws and all’ says Alastair.
What will I learn?
Our workshops are all about enjoying yourselves and enjoying fish. Not fixating too much on technique and expertise, but appreciating the whole creative process, as much as the eating; a getting to grips with the basics, the simple rules to cooking all seafood without the need of fancy cookware, and achieving effortless, delicious results. Alastair’s food is relaxed, informal and lively, and you’ll soon pick up many tips and easy ways with seafood to impress your friends, such as his glorious family-sized shellfish pot, cuttlefish & black cabbage or extra-deep crab tart – to be devoured while still warm from the oven. Some simple ways with vegetables and a fresh fruit pudding will be sneaked in too.
What’s the local seafood?
First off, we will head for The Stade, to visit the beach-launched fishing fleet, with its winch sheds and net huts, and to select and buy our fish. The winch sheds on the beach are our first port-of-call. In the fishy scheme of things, there’s nothing more English than flatfish, and Hastings’ locally caught flat fish (much of which is MSC certified) – such as plaice, lemon and Dover sole, turbot and brill – are often to be found here. And, as the summer moves in and the sea warms, cuttlefish, mackerel, sea bass and spider crab become plenty.
Next, a visit to Rock-a-Nore Fisheries, the best wet fish shop in town, where wonderful crustaceae – crab, lobster, squid, Rye Bay scallops and brown shrimps, not forgetting the dear old whelk – are stacked up in crates. ‘Our grandma Polly Gannon used to push a fish cart seven miles from Hastings to Bexhill and back again every day before our parents Albert and Lilly set up Rock-a-Nore Fisheries some 30 years ago,’ says owner Sonny Gannon, whose family have been in the business for two centuries. He also does a good line in hot and cold smoked fish: bloaters, buckling, kippers, eel, mackerel, haddock (tip-top for a chowder).
Once we have our fish, it’s back to Home Store’s Kitchen for fun and creativity. A fish filleting lesson, and then preparation and cooking with Alastair Hendy will take up the rest of the day, resulting in a glorious seafood late lunch, prepared by us all – with wine, and a pud to finish.
How do I book?
Please see our Booking page
Please see our Contact us page
Please read our Terms & Conditions.
What should I bring?
We supply everything you will need for cooking, but please do bring your favourite knife if you have one. Bring walking boots or sturdy shoes for the beach, a camera or smartphone is strongly recommended, and if you enjoy a sea dip – your swim gear in summer.
Some more questions answered
All recipes will be provided for you to take home
Nearby on-street parking is available
Gift vouchers available
If you have any allergies please let us know at the time of booking
Arrival and departure
The workshop starts at 9am at A G Hendy & Co and finishes at 4.30pm.
A G Hendy & Co Home Store
36 High Street
Hastings Old Town
Tel +44 (0)1424 447171
Hastings is steeped in history. With its eclectic mix of antique and junk shops, art galleries, second-hand bookshops and wealth of Tudor and Georgian architecture, it is the perfect place for a holiday, and you might like to combine your course with a few days by the sea. Take the funicular railway to the top of the East Hill and take in the sea views, the fisherman’s beach and its unique net huts. Visit the Fisherman’s Museum, the Jerwood art gallery, smugglers’ caves and the ruins of William the Conqueror’s medieval castle. You can visit St Leonards-on-Sea, with its 19th century architecture is a half-mile walk away along the promenade; and Battle, which is a 15-minute car ride inland, where you can explore the ruined Abbey and the 1066 Battle Of Hastings battlefield.