Many years ago whilst coming through the ranks of a cook, the word sustainability was not a word that really meant anything to me or to my Head chefs. However, as the years progressed I began to understand more about the benefits of supporting local farmers, not to mention seasonal! The Chefs that I worked under were demanding, to say the least, always insisting for the best; rightly so, after all, they were at the top of their game.
Land, sea and sky whatever Mother Nature gave us during those months rest assured we would have it, with no expense spared. La crème de la crème of great produce would arrive every morning!
During my time in being in charge of several kitchens, I too was always demanding for the best. I would scoff at chefs who would use farmed reared trout, Salmon, cod & Shellfish. One evening whilst I was watching a program about the depletion of many fish stocks in our wonderful oceans and the damage that it has for our eco system I decided to look into it further for peace of mind. I took a month of work and travelled to the beautiful Shetland isle and secured employment in a wonderful hotel (Busta House Hotel) unbeknown to them that I was in charge of several well-known kitchens. Busta sat near a cliff overlooking the Sea. They had a wonderful menu and all local produce. Their emphasis was fish from the Sea, the North Sea to be exact.
During my time with them, I learned the benefits of SUSTAINABILITY (In ecology, sustainability is the capacity to endure; it is how biological systems remain diverse). I would talk to the managers of these wonderful Aquaculture farms, and was amazed at the amount of hard work, passion and pride they took in their work. Cod, Salmon and shellfish from tiny eggs to adult size. I was hard pressed to tell the difference from wild to farm in respect of taste.
I make a point in my kitchen now that it’s good to buy farmed fish and it’s mentioned on my menus as well. There will always be the non-believers and I know that I will never be able to please everyone. However, the mere fact that I am able to do something for this wonderful planet that has given me so much makes me feel good within myself. Why not? After all, if it’s fresh and from good aquaculture farms, then I say we owe it if not to our selves then our children’s children.