A country-famous seafood chef has explained why oysters taste best when accompanied by a spicy ginger and turmeric pickle. He also suggests that prawns be left unmarinated while they are being cooked. 

Peter Robertson, Executive Chef of Flying Fish Sydney’s The Star said that there is no food he enjoys more than seafood.

He shares with FEMAIL his industry secrets – including his favorite prawns and the perfect summer salad dressing that will please everyone at every occasion.

Peter Robertson (pictured), the Executive Chef of Flying Fish at Sydney's The Star, said there is nothing he loves more than a good seafood platter and always makes sure to plan well ahead of Christmas Day

Peter Robertson (pictured), Executive Chef of Flying Fish Sydney’s The Star stated that nothing is more important to him than good seafood. He also makes sure to prepare well in advance of Christmas Day


Peter explained that “I have come across many run-of-the mill versions” (think: a fisherman’s bag from the local fish and chips shop, and then add oysters),

It’s easy to prepare a delicious seafood platter in your own kitchen, given the abundance of Australian seafood. But you have to be careful with timing and know how to keep it fresh.

Peter stated that seafood should be kept fresh by being frozen, dried and avoiding fresh water. 

'Given our abundance of incredible seafood here in Australia, a good seafood platter is so easy to make at home, but you need to manage your timing and you need to have some idea on how to store seafood,' Peter said

Peter stated that despite the abundance of amazing seafood in Australia, it is easy to create a delicious seafood platter at home. However, you must manage your time and have a basic understanding about how seafood should be stored.

“Buy as much of the finest quality seafood as possible at the same time that you will be serving it, and you’ll be on the right path,” he stated, noting that planning is important.

Prep your condiments in advance and determine what will be cold and which should be cooked last-minute. 

“For Christmas, I believe it should be something special. Push the boat out and add lobsters. The export market remains weak. There are deals this year.

Peter suggested that you then pick your favourite sashimi and prawns as well as any bugs or crabs. Make sure to pair them with finger bowls, great salads, and plenty of soft bread.

What are the secrets to finding the right prawns? Where can you buy them best?

You can buy prawns in advance. Most prawns from Australia can be frozen in minutes after they are caught. They retain their quality well, so it’s a good idea to purchase frozen prawns.

It is always a good idea to source Australian products whenever possible. This ensures that your product is of higher quality and has been responsibly fished. Also, I find that prawns taste a little sweeter in colder water. I like prawns originating from South Australia (Port Lincoln) and Skull Island from the north.

It is important to consider the best size prawn for your dish. It can be a little fiddly if you use a smaller size than U8 for grilled splits. A U10 shell is good.

Fish mongers have the ability to obtain most types prawns with just a few hours notice. With recent COVID events, you might also see that they offer home delivery services.


Peter stated that he prefers to cook the prawns without marinating, especially as the high heat can burn oil and marinades. However, this recipe is great for making a butter, which he would keep at room temperature, then add to the final stage of the cooking.

Wakam butter

• 1 kg butter (room temp)

• 120g white soy

• 10g minced garlic

• 30g rehydrated wakame seaweed, chopped

• 40g maple syrup

• 5 g chopped chives

• 5g chopped tarragon

All ingredients should be combined in a kitchenaid or planetary mixer. Add paddle, whip it for 5 minutes or till well-incorporated.

'I like to cook prawns unmarinated because the high heat tends to burn marinades especially if there's oil in it, but this is a great recipe for a butter to keep at room temp and add towards the end of cooking,' Peter said

Peter explained that he prefers to cook the prawns in their natural marinades.


Fresh oysters are the best. Peter states that when entertaining you can’t beat a freshly shucked oyster.

“If I had to pick one, Rock Oysters would definitely be it. The East Coast is blessed with enough rock oyster farmers that any season there will be one in excellent condition. Peter explained that if you are unsure of which area is in season you can ask any fishmonger who you trust.

“We like to serve it with a pickled ginger and turmeric, but here is a quick version you can make at home.

'If I had to choose one, I'd say Rock Oysters are my favourite for sure. We are lucky enough to have enough producers on the East Coast that at any time of year there's a rock oyster out there in amazing condition,' Peter said

“If I had to pick one I would choose Rock Oysters. Peter stated that we are fortunate enough to have so many producers along the East Coast, there is always a rock oyster in great condition.

Ginger and Turmeric Pickle

· 500g rice wine vinegar

· 25g white soy

· 100g palm sugar

· 20g ginger

· 20g turmeric

· 2 scud chilli

Use a microplane to grate the ginger and turmeric. Next, cut the chilli. Finally, combine vinegar, palm sugar, soy and bring it to boil. Then, pour the mixture over. Let cool (ideally overnight).

Flying Fish is well-known for its stunning oyster displays and it’s one of the most popular dishes. 

Most guests start their meal with oysters. They are shucked fresh to order, and kept in excellent condition for between 5-10 days.

Flying Fish is known for its spectacular oyster display and they are one of the top-selling dishes

Flying Fish is famous for its amazing oyster display. They are also one of our top-selling dishes


Peter explained that he likes salads crispy and has a liking for a mixture of sweet and bitter lettuces, such as butter or cos, along with slightly bitter greens, like watercress or witlof.

The salad dressing should also be important. Although this is not my recipe, Neil Perry made it perfect with his palm-sugar vinaigrette.

Coriander and red wine vinegar salad dressing

· 12 coriander root

· 8 tsp of sea salt

· 8 garlic cloves

· 150 red wine vinegar (best quality)

· 540g palm Sugar

· 140g sherry vinegar

· 480g Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a mortar and pestle, combine coriander root with salt, garlic and red wine vinegar.

To make a caramel, combine palm sugar with sherry vinegar. Let cool, then add red wine vinegar mixture.

Add olive oil to all of the ingredients.