Smoking Hot Success at the Auckland Seafood School

Auckland Seafood School

They call it the City of Sails… and with all those boats, and all that water, you can bet there’s some pretty fantastic seafood.

As I mentioned in my first impressions of Auckland, life here seems to center around the harbor (as well it should – it’s gorgeous down there!). So as I perusing various sites for ways to occupy my time here, keeping in mind the awesome Auckland seafood, I stumbled across the Auckland Seafood School. Now I’m no professional chef – I just mastered the art of the fried egg earlier this year – but I thought, why not? I’ll give it a stab. Under the guided supervision of a professional, how badly could I really screw it up?

On the menu:

Crispy Prawn, Herb and Cheese Fritters, and Smoked Salmon with Potato Rosti, Wilted Spinach, Poached Egg and Citrus Mayonnaise

Sounds simple enough, right?

Auckland Seafood School

The school, located in the Auckland Fish Markets, has been demystifying the cooking process for eager students since 2004. Their method has successfully taken aspiring cooks or non-cooks of every level and infused the fun into being in the kitchen.

My Sunday Brunch class began at 10:30 a.m., starting with an hour-long demonstration of the day’s recipes. Those chefs always make it look so easy – just a dash of this, a swirl of that, mix it all together while you keep an eye on a,b and c to keep them from burning, and then you do a handstand while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and you’re done! Only here it would be something other than the American Pledge of Allegiance, I’m guessing.

But in all seriousness, the recipes didn’t sound all that complicated. And we were divided into groups, and so would be delegating various tasks to each group member. Phew!

Auckland Seafood School

My job was the Cripsy Prawn, Herb and Cheese Fritters. Which are essentially like a pancake with stuff in them. Given my southern breakfast-making roots, this was a recipe I could handle! Basically I had to chop onion and garlic, and sauté them along with the prawns (or shrimp… depending on where you are) and some spices. Then you fold that mixture into a batter of eggs, flour and baking soda, ladle them onto the frying surface, let them cook exactly like pancakes do and voila! Served with a dollop of sweet chili sauce and you have fancy fritters!

Auckland Seafood School

Auckland Seafood School

It was quite a feat to have produced fritters that were not only edible, but delicious on the very first try (ask anyone who knows me – the most common word uttered when I’m cooking is “oops”). Paired with our salmon, poached eggs, spinach, and potato rostis, it was a perfectly delightful little brunch. And an excellent way to spend a Sunday in Auckland, doing something slightly off the beaten tourist track.

Auckland Seafood School

 Have you ever taken a cooking class while traveling? If so, how was it?

Now it’s probably cheating, I can’t help but share the recipe for the fritters with you guys. And if you’re ever in Auckland, do check out the Auckland Seafood School. They have a whole calendar of upcoming classes, many of which sell out. And what better souvenir to take home than recipes you can enjoy again and again?

Crispy Prawn, Herb and Cheese Fritters

  • 400 g (15 oz) raw prawn (shrimp) meat
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • handful of fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 200 g (7 oz) feta cheese
  • salt to taste
  • sweet chili sauce
  1. Lightly sauté prawn meat, then chop.
  2. Gently heat a saucepan and add olive oil, cayenne pepper, ground cumin and gently sweat the onion and garlic until soft. Add prawns and mix, then remove from heat.
  3. Whisk eggs in a bowl, add flour and baking soda and mix to form a batter.
  4. Gently fold in the onion, garlic and prawn mix, and chopped herbs. Season to taste.
  5. Spoon two tablespoons of mix per fritter onto a saucepan or hot plate and cook until golden brown. Flip over to cook other side.
  6. Serve with sweet chili sauce.


  • Oh. My. God. That looks like my own personal version of heaven! I’m taking note for whenever or if ever I’m able to get to New Zealand! Until then, I will just have to trust that you will revel in all the delicious seafood and wine, because someone has to enjoy it, dammit!! 😀

    • Haha I thought you would love something like this!! It was so much fun – I was partnered up with a lovely couple, and the chef was hilarious. It was such a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning! 🙂

      • What’s not to love? I’ve been trying to look up cooking classes at a lot of the places I travel lately. Scott and I had an amazing time making macarons with Le Cuisine Paris when we were in Paris. The one I’m bummed that I missed, though, was their market fresh class – they take all the students to a Parisian street market, buy food, and then take it back to the cooking school and teach everyone how to make something fantastic from what they bought. How awesome is that?? I’m definitely doing it if/when I make it back to Paris!

        • I’ve done a cooking class with Le Cuisine Paris!! Or rather my parents did, while I had to run around trying to get last minute paperwork sorted for my visa… that ended up getting denied anyways… lol. I would love to do a fresh market class though!! Half the intimidation of the Paris markets are not being able to speak French, so with a teacher to help with transactions that makes it so much more fun! 🙂

          • I speak enough French to get myself in trouble, but the daunting part for me was knowing what deals were good, what weren’t, what was in season, and what would be best for particular dishes local to the region. There are so many nuances to cooking with local ingredients that you just can’t pick up on if you don’t know the area.

            I’m starting to feel like I’m at the right point here in Hawaii where I know my area, where I know what ingredients are at peak season and what should be used with certain spice pairings. It’s a beautiful feeling – like finally being able to speak coherent sentences in another sensory language!

  • sherri5634

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  • lee34125

    Thank you so much to share the especial recipe in here and i know there are most of the people like to eat this food. So i know this post makes it so familiar in here.