Gelf Alderson

Hands on Fish and Shellfish

  • Recommended


    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $99

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

Tackling fresh fish takes confidence, knowledge and technique. It can seem a daunting task, but in this course Gelf will guide you through the skills you need. Once you’ve learned the techniques and practised it yourself you will finish the course feeling confident in your ability to cook fish and shellfish at home.

You will be introduced to varieties of fish seasonally available, updated on current sustainability guidelines and given advice on how to shop for the freshest fish. You will learn the basics of fish preparation including gutting, scaling and filleting three types of fish – flat, round and oily – with a particular focus on knife skills. And you will learn a variety of techniques including pan-frying, baking and stewing plus creating stocks and broths and a number of delicious recipes.

Course outline

  • Round white fish

    This lesson will provide you with an introduction in how to purchase fish, check for quality and freshness, as well as the importance of sustainability. Gelf will teach you how to gut, scale, fillet and debone a round white fish in simple steps. At the end of the lesson you will put your new skills in to practise, creating the perfect pan-fried fish basted with butter and adorned with a simple garnish.

    Lesson length: 39 minutes

    Assignment: Using sustainably sourced white fish, practise filleting and pin boning. Show evidence of your first and second attempt so to demonstrate how your technique has progressed.

  • Flat fish

    During this lesson you will learn how to both crosscut, and whole fillet a flat fish. At River Cottage we aim to minimise waste and Gelf will teach you to use every part of the fish from the skeleton to the skin .You will learn how to create a simple fish stock from the bones, which will make up the base for a spicy fish broth. By the end of the lesson you will have prepared a flat fish, roasted with fresh veg and olive oil and fillets of plaice poached in spicy fish stock.

    Lesson length: 33 minutes

    Assignment: Find yourself some flat fish and try filleting them. Then try both roasting a fish and poaching a fish – which one do you prefer?

    Try tweaking the vegetables, broth or herbs. Get creative and use food that is local and seasonal for you.

  • Oily fish

    Succulent, flavourful mackerel fillets with a beautifully crisp skin make a tasty, quick meal. As one of the healthiest oily fish you can eat, it’s an absolute must to learn how to prepare it properly. In this lesson Gelf will demonstrate how to fillet a mackerel, and how to debone it using the v cut method. By the end of this lesson you will have learned how to cure and hot smoke mackerel fillets, and created a herby smoked mackerel paté.

    Lesson length: 20 minutes

    Assignment: If you are feeling extravagant, make a hot smoker. Alternatively you can purchase one online. Demonstrate how you have cured and smoked your oily fish.

  • Shellfish

    This lesson is all about bivalves - mussels, cockles and clams. Gelf will teach you how to safely source and clean these varieties of shellfish and three great recipes to enhance their wonderful flavours.

    Lesson length: 55 minutes

    Assignment: Go out and find yourself a great sustainable fish monger. After that, why not try some of the recipes we’ve done today, but put your own twist on it. Use the basic techniques I’ve demonstrated, but change the vegetables, the spices or anything else! Make sure to explain what you’ve done and why in your submission.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Gelf Alderson

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by Gelf Alderson
    • Certificate of completion
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
  • The Peer option

    Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

    • Start course whenever you like
    • Practise what you learn with your peers
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 4 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more

Food & Drink classroom - how it works

  • Start anytime

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
  • Personal tuition

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
  • Share ideas

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

Meet Gelf Alderson

Gelf Alderson - Food & Drink
Gelf Alderson is the Culinary Director at River Cottage having worked alongside Hugh F-W for nearly ten years. Gelf is a dedicated ambassador of the River Cottage commitment to sustainability. He was one of the early pioneers of the farm to fork philosophy and is passionate about using food that is farmed locally, sourced from the River Cottage kitchen garden, or foraged from the surrounding area.

Gelf is able to communicate the importance of sustainable eating in a simple, practical and down to earth way. He is both engaging and charismatic and leaves people with a clear understanding and heads full of ideas to implement at home.

Frequently bought as part of this collection

  • The River Cottage Cooking Diploma

    Master the entire subject and SAVE 26% when you buy this collection

    11 Courses • 9 Expert Tutors

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage HQ has long been a power-house of culinary ideology – a hub bringing together an inspiring and talented team who all share a commitment to seasonal and sustainable eating.

    "At River Cottage, we believe there are few things more important than education. And food! And so our aim is to teach and inspire you to grow, source and cook food in ways that enhance your life, increase your wellbeing and connect you more closely to the natural, sustainable and ethical sources of food.

    I believe that delicious, healthy food has never been more vital in helping us all to stay well during this global pandemic, and making those choices in a sustainable way makes the health of our planet a priority too. This opportunity to learn online in social groups provides a sense of togetherness and mutual support. It's not just a great way to learn, it's a great way to stay connected and foster a sense of shared endeavour in what could otherwise be a very isolating time in our lives."

    – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

    Who is the course for?

    Whether you want a career change, you're already working in the food or hospitality industry, or you are an enthusiastic amateur who'd like to gain a certificate, this course is suitable for all food enthusiasts.

    What you will learn

    Through this collection of 48 cookery lessons, Hugh and the team will demonstrate, teach and guide you through their specialist subjects, setting you assignments and offering feedback along the way.

    Our experts will demonstrate a range of skills including vegetable cookery, fish filleting, and shellfish preparation with a focus on ingredient provenance, sourcing and seasoning. From baking your own bread, sourdough and pastries to making your own pickles and kombucha, this course will delve deep into a wide range of useful kitchen skills. Forage for local delicacies, combine exotic spices with delicious home-grown and local ingredients, cook meat and veg in the wild with fire and go gluten free without compromising on flavour – this collection covers absolutely everything you need to know to be at the top of your cooking game.

    In order to gain the River Cottage Cooking Diploma with a signed certificate from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, you will need to complete all courses within the collection. However feel free also to pick and choose the areas that interest you if you simply want the pleasure of learning from the top chefs at River Cottage.

    Learn more

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