In a bid to encourage more Scots to get fishy in the kitchen, and at the same time support the ailing Scottish seafood industry, Seafood Scotland has this week launched a series of virtual ‘Seafood Supper Clubs’, putting chefs and budding cooks together online to create restaurant quality seafood dishes at home.
Foodies that are missing their favourite restaurants can use the treasured recipes gifted by notable Scottish chefs, along with step by step instructions and video content designed to make cooking seafood easy and accessible for all.
The first event, hosted on Thursday by Carina Contini, of Edinburgh’s Contini, The Scottish Café and Restaurant and Cannonball, saw the chef take a group of social media influencers through a ‘Date Night’ recipe for Baked Lemon Sole with spinach and cheddar. The influencers, with a combined following of over 150,000 people, will then share the recipe, video, tips they have picked up with their audiences along with discount codes for local suppliers. Consumers will also be able to access the recipe materials directly at www.seafoodfromscotland.org
Further Seafood Supper Club events are planned for Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen tackling feeding a family, seafood for one, and delicious meals using basic store cupboard ingredients.
The initiative is designed to provide market support for the seafood sector in Scotland, which is suffering greatly as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic. With 80% of Scottish seafood usually destined for international markets the industry is hoping that people will take advantage of the increased availability of fresh Scottish seafood, now often available direct to the door through the many businesses that have taken up contactless home delivery, or via existing fishmongers and retailers.
Around 60% of the seafood we eat is imported, but now is the time to buy local, buy Scottish.
Donna Fordyce, Interim Head of Seafood Scotland, said: “The harsh fact is that the seafood sector in Scotland is in a dire situation. Businesses and communities along our coasts are on the brink of collapse after their markets all but disappeared overnight. Families that have for generations depended on the fishing sector are contemplating a bleak future.
“The one thing that is keeping them going is the local consumer market. If people buy Scottish seafood to cook at home, businesses may survive. We know people are sometimes a bit hesitant of cooking fish and shellfish at home, but it’s pretty simple when you know how, which is why we’ve asked Scotland’s chefs to lend a helping hand.”
Scottish seafood is available in supermarkets and direct from fishmongers, processors and in some cases, the fishermen themselves as many have diversified to provide income through the crisis. Scotland Food and Drink has this week launched www.supportlocal.scot, an online hub where consumers can search for local providers of all types of produce – seafood included.
Carina Contini commented: “I’ve always been amazed that as an island nation surrounded by the best coastal fishing territories in the world, we are importing fish. It’s crazy. As one of the most delicate and special ingredients, fish and shellfish has to be fresh. Where better than Scotland to get the best freshest seafood?
“Restaurants have always been a key market for the domestic market and with us all closed it’s a perfect opportunity to support the industry by taking the time to learn how to cook seafood. It’s easier than you think and so healthy and totally delicious.”
Kylie Reid , participant and founder of the EGG community said: “I loved last night. Carina showed us how easy and simple cooking fish can be, and in 20 minutes we had the made the most delicious meal, made even more enjoyable knowing we’re supporting the Scottish seafood community. I’m excited that good food can be this easy.”
Image caption clockwise: Carla Contini, chef; Kylie Reid, founder of online EGG community; Juliet Lawrence-Wilson, Journalist, Edinburgh Reporter; Adele Conn, influencer (Tartan Spoon blog); Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food, Scotland Food & Drink