Gelf Alderson

Hands on Fish and Shellfish

  • Recommended

    $220 $172.80

    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $75 $57.60

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

Course Description

Chef Gelf Alderson from River Cottage teaches you how to be confident sourcing, preparing and cooking with fish and shellfish.

You look at fish seasonally available, learn about sourcing your fish and shellfish sustainably and how to shop for the freshest fish locally.

Gelf will teach you 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 delicious fish dishes.

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'll learn:

  • how to check fish and shellfish for freshness, quality and sustainability
  • how to gut, scale and fillet a fish
  • preparing and cleaning shellfish
  • recipes include pan-fried fish, fish stock, hot smoked mackerel, paprika cockles, clams with cider and mussels with chermoula

The course includes:

  • 4 on-demand video lessons - presented by Gelf Alderson and River Cottage
  • lifetime access to the videos, notes and interactive class
  • flexible classes - join and learn when and where you like
  • downloadable lesson notes
  • practical fish and shellfish assignments and recipes (with tutor feedback available)
  • access on your mobile, PC, Mac or laptop
  • small interactive online classroom - chat online to students from around the world and share your creative ideas

Time to complete the fish cooking course:

Every student is different but in general we think the whole course will take around 14 hours 30 minutes to complete including:

  • Video lessons: 2 hours 30 minutes in total
  • Course notes: 30 minutes per lesson
  • Your fish cooking recipe assignments: at least 2 hours per lesson
  • Interactive classroom time: 15 minutes per lesson
  • Tutor feedback review (Expert level): 15 minutes per lesson

You'll need:

Your lesson notes will include the full details of the ingredients you'll need, but you will be making fish and shellfish dishes, so you'll need standard kitchen equipment.

Ready to get started?

Just add the course to your basket above - choose the 'Expert' option for personal feedback from Gelf on fish and shellfish cooking assignments.

If you know someone who'd love this course then give it as a gift - just tick "This is a gift" at the checkout.

Any questions? Contact us by clicking on the orange speech symbol - we'd love to hear from you.

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

  • 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

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
    $220 $172.80
  • 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
    $75 $57.60

Buy this course for a business or group

You can now buy this course through your business or organisation for individuals and groups up to 20

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

    12 Courses • 10 Expert Tutors

    River Cottage cookery courses online. Join Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage for culinary training in your own home.

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Awards & Accreditations

  • Good Web Guide
  • Red Herring Winner
  • Education Investor Awards 2021 - Finalist
  • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)