What a fabulous Seafood Week 2019

Fri 18th October 2019
Cj Jackson

We have had an amazing Seafood Week at Billingsgate Seafood School, there has been a great buzz!

In the run up to Friday 4th October, we kick started the week with a visit to C4’S Sunday Brunch the weekend (Sunday 29th September) before focusing on several UK species including mackerel, scallops, pollack and Dublin Bay prawns. We then delivered a good range of our courses during the week to food lovers, schools and as always our focus was on sustainably caught UK seafood. We have prepared and cooked: mackerel, sardines, plaice, lemon sole, gurnard, witch, coley, monkfish, ray wings, sprats, lemon sole, turbot, whiting brown crab, cuttlefish, mussels, whelks, scallops and oysters. We are so lucky to have much of this at our finger tips every day at Billingsgate.

The highlight for us were two particular classes that we planned especially for this week, Essentials Seafood Monday, where we show our guests how fish and shellfish can be prepared and talk them through what to ask a fishmonger to do for them. We kept it simple and over three hours show cased some fab fish and easy ways to cook it all. The more we work with members of the public, the more we realise that cooking fish for many is daunting and people are lacking in confidence. Giving straightforward tips from how to keep your hands and kitchen clean to sharing how little time it takes to cook seafood really well goes down a storm.

Our second highlight of the week is our Smoked, Cured and Salt class – this includes an early morning market visit and then a lesson on how to slice smoked salmon with our fabulous retired fishmonger and smoker, Ken Condon. They then spent the day curing, salting, hot smoking, sousing and learning about many types of preserved fish and shellfish..

We have also had a group of counter staff from a retailer working with us and taking a three day course. They had a series of lectures, market visit, cutting and cooking with everything they display on their counters and we encouraged them to try new things, many had never eaten crab or tried an oyster before.

We have tried to introduce as many new ideas and species as we can as we continue to encourage people to try other things and not just the big five.  The BIG Seafood Week buzz ran through the market too. Thanks to the efforts of Seafish South East rep, Julie Waites, who engaged with all the merchants and their teams.  Julie produced bunting, aprons and bags and created a fabulous atmosphere across the whole market. Many of the stallholders were keen to be seen modelling the Seafood Week 2019 aprons and engaging with the whole week.

We finished the week with two events. I went to Aberdeen to work with fellow Seafish Ambassador, Mike Warner at Peterhead market and saw how the fishermen andseafood all come together from catch to plate.

In London on Sunday 13th October there was a traditional Fish Harvest Festival at St Mary at Hill Church in the City. The fish is supplied by Billingsgate merchants and it’s a fabulous display of seafood gathered from all corners of the UK that is presented.  This is a true celebration of all that we gather from the sea.

CJ Jackson