October saw the first of these new advanced courses being delivered
at Fishgate Fish Market by the Sea Fish industry Authority approved
trainer, Adrian Barratt, assisted by Lee Cooper of Seafish.
The five day long course is a mix of theory and practice as participants
are taken through the theory of quality assessment and then thrust
nose deep into assessing the colour, flesh, odour and taste of real
fish. It’s not all fun and games though as the course covers a great
deal of material in just four and a half days.
The Participants for this first course were drawn from fish processors
and trainers, both local and from as far away as London. Nine people
participated in the programme and from the feedback we received
it would seem they found it both informative and fun. Although the
first course can be considered a complete success, the second course
will be changed to make it even better.
Monday 1st October
An early start for Adrian and Lee as they started sorting fish
for the course at 7:00 and getting everything ready for the arrival
of participants at 8:30. Stanton’s Café in the Fish Market proved
to be a popular gathering point before each day’s training and as
we had our lunches there it was a real asset to the course.
Monday began with a presentation in the Electronic Auction Room
at Fishgate of the Introductory Seafood Quality Assessment Course,
a 2hr long theory session that has been available to industry since
After lunch we moved through to the main hall of the Market where
Adrian introduced the group to the practicalities of assessing fish
and Lee delivered an exercise on calibrating your taste buds.
Tuesday 2nd October
Tuesday’s session began back in the main hall of the market where
Fishgate have a small laboratory. The taste calibration exercise
was repeated before the group carried out assessments of Cod quality
using both the TORRY scales and QIM (Quality Index Method) on raw
Cod of various ages and quality. Cod was also assessed using the
TORRY scale for cooked Cod.
The afternoon sessions comprised the theory of assessing flatfish
and the practice of assessing Plaice.
Wednesday 3rd October
Wednesday saw the participants assessing Cod and Plaice on their
own. The day before they had worked in small groups and had been
able to collaborate on coming up with an appropriate score for each
fish, but today they were on their own and their assessments of
raw and cooked fish were compared with each other and with the scores
from their trainer.
The rest of the day was spent going over the theory of assessing
pelagic scoring systems and then practicing on mackerel and herring.
Thursday 4th October
A more stressful day than any of the previous one’s as this was
the day of their examination. How would they do? How effective had
the training been? These two questions were to be answered by their
performance in assessing a range of Cod and flatfish over a 2 hour
period. On the whole they all did very well.
After the stress of the examination the rest of the day was a more
relaxed affair as they first looked at a range of assessment schemes
for other species and then evaluated smoked and chilled seafood
from supermarket counters and coated seafood products from their
frozen food aisles. With their newly developed sensory abilities
the participants were able to be more critical in their tasting
as we disassembled fish fingers and battered fish to see what was
This was the last of the practical sessions. The rest of that afternoon
we discussed how to set up and standardise quality assessment teams,
a discussion that continued the next day.
Friday 5th October
The last day of the course was a half day theory session where
we discussed calibrating assessment teams and developing new scoring
systems as well as the training opportunities that the participants
could now take advantage of, thanks to their advanced training.
The final feedback session was an opportunity to tell us where
we had made mistakes and where we had got things right. Overall
the conclusion was an informative, worthwhile, and enjoyable training
Now, who wants to go on course number two? >>> more