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Fish get the special treatment as top chef Mitch opens his seafood academy

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 11, 2012

Mitch Tonks at the launch of the new seafood academy in Brixham  Picture: Amy Stanford

Mitch Tonks at the launch of the new seafood academy in Brixham Picture: Amy Stanford

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Fish from Brixham was on the menu at a local college when cookery writer and restaurateur Mitch Tonks launched his seafood academy.

Catering students at South Devon College yesterday cooked up a feast of grilled monkfish, seafood salad, and local crab in a cream and sherry sauce.

The demonstration, in front of guests, came after Mr Tonks had spent the day passing on his skills to the students to launch the academy.

The fish enthusiast, who champions local seafood at his two Dartmouth restaurants, has teamed up with the college to train the next generation of fish chefs.

"The academy is going to be a great thing," he said, "I've long believed that the South West has got the best seafood in the world but one of the challenges facing the area is the lack of skilled staff and especially chefs who specialise in sea food.

"With the academy, we want to develop chefs who are incredibly specialised in fish and don't just understand the cooking but the catching of it too."

David Galpin, head of catering at the college, said: "The academy is something we have been planning for a while now and to see it come to fruition is fantastic.

"Mitch has got the passion and the enthusiasm to make it a very good programme."

The academy will offer one-year courses to students in their third year of catering training at the college, on day release from local employers.

Mr Tonks has worked with lecturers to put together the teaching programme. The chef said: "I'm designing the curriculum with the lecturers and the repertoire of dishes.

"I will pop in two or three times a month to give a lecture or a masterclass and generally see how everyone is. The whole idea is to be an inspiration to the students."

The academy will also offer classes to people who are already working locally in the catering trade. Local people will be able to sample dishes prepared by the students in special evenings at the college restaurant, Horizons.

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