Saturday, 10 March 2012

Talking Fish & Hastings Day Boat Turbot

I’m obsessed with accuracy and attention to detail which on many occasions looses me the chance of a sale or the winning of a restaurant’s contract. You may be thinking this is a strange statement but businesses solely look for the cheapest price and will accept what they are told if they get it. By trade I am not a salesman, I’m a fisheries scientist, and being fact driven is how I have evolved. Some might suggest I am now in the wrong position (as a salesman), however I am meeting more and more chefs and restaurateurs whom really want to learn about their seafood. They are putting a much higher value on the service of factually correct and educational information. No longer is a box with fish delivered at a cheap price enough – the business model has evolved and places are opening up for people like myself with an honest passion and knowledge for fish and seafood. Us as consumers rely upon the menu writer, the front of house/waiting staff or the chef to serve us high quality food coupled with information about the meal itself and its noticeable fish and seafood finds itself at the very top of the agenda.

Recently I have been lucky enough to see some particularly special fish caught by small English South Coast day boats. I do hear this phrase ‘Day Boat’ used nearly as often as ‘Sustainable’ and like the latter it can be used in the wrong context. I guess it is easy to write either of these two statements if it is the information that has been passed on. In reality Day boat fish are commonly stunning in quality and sometimes have a price to match. This week our depot has been receiving fabulous fish out of Hastings with Brill, Plaice and MSC Dovers to name a few. However, the most remarkable fish on show were the Turbot. The nature of a Turbot, being a benthic inhabitant, means it is commonly captured by more aggressive bottom beam trawl methods; additionally they can be captured by mid water pelagic otters trawls. Neither methods are associated with day boats so when such a beast as the 8.2kg fish pictured below arrived the quality, compared to many beamer caught turbot, was so remarkable I had to share it with you all.

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