Organised by Seafish and the Scottish Seafood Association, the study trip to the port of Peterhead provided attending chefs with an opportunity to take a closer look at the inner workings of Europe’s whitefish capital – which accounted for around 45% of all UK whitefish landings in 2018 – and a chance to meet with a variety of representatives from the Scottish seafood industry.
Jimmy Buchan, Chief Executive of the Scottish Seafood Association and one of the co-hosts of the study visit, commented: “Peterhead is one of the UK’s busiest fishing ports and is at the forefront of the Scottish fishing industry – with a total of 170,227 tonnes of fish and other seafood, worth £183.6 million, landed during 2018.
“The focus of the trip was to highlight to attending chefs the wide range of seafood on offer, encouraging menu diversification and the use of different species in the restaurant sector. The study visit also emphasised the socio-economic importance of Peterhead port and the wider impact it has on the overall UK seafood industry.
“With fish provenance high on the agenda, it’s important that chefs and restaurant owners have a strong understanding of responsible and traceable sourcing, and know exactly what it takes to get fresh fish from sea to plate.”
Attending chefs included:
- Derek McKenzie, chef/owner of The Grill On The Bridge in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire;
- Colin Hinds, chef/owner of Edinburgh’s The Kilted Lobster;
- Dale Ferguson, leading private dining chef based at Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Perthshire; and
- Simon Kelman, head chef of the Macdonald Highlands Hotel, Aviemore, Grampian.
Commenting on his experience visiting Peterhead, Dale Ferguson said that the trip provided “the most valuable hands-on experience I have had, providing me with priceless new knowledge”.
Colin Hinds of The Kilted Lobster commented that he “will be able to use the valuable knowledge gained on the trip, to convey details of the journey undertaken by fish and shellfish in order to reach the table to fellow chefs, restaurant staff and also the diners at his restaurant”.
Starting the trip with an early morning visit to Peterhead Fish Market, the chefs gained insight to the daily routine of the market while also learning about the sustainable fisheries management practices that are followed by the Scottish fishing fleet – advancing their knowledge of the whole fishing and supply process. Following their visit to the market the chefs then enjoyed a knife-skills and fish filleting demonstration from Gordon Gibb, Director of Aberdeenshire based Polaris Learning Limited, who are one of the leading providers of training to the onshore food industry in north east Scotland.
With much of the UK’s primary processing of seafood located in the north east of Scotland, the chefs also visited the Sustainable Seafoods Limited processing unit in Peterhead, where they observed first-hand how traditional skills are married together with modern technology and equipment, discovering how the future of the fish processing trade is evolving.