Celebrity chef: seafood diners are wild about responsibility

Seafood restaurant goers in the United Kingdom are becoming increasingly engaged with wild-capture fisheries and asking more probing questions when it comes to sustainability issues, according to celebrity chef and owner of Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, Richard Corrigan. 

The famous Piccadilly, London, restaurant was established in 1916, focusing on wild seafood and supplying one of the country’s biggest selection of oysters, but Corrigan said he has seen tastes change radically in the last 26 years since he became its head chef.

“People are more ambitious. They are willing to eat fish on the bone, to see it whole roasted. I have seen an opening to another generation and a huge enthusiasm spill into the wild seafood restaurant business,” said Corrigan.

That interest has led to a renewed appreciation for seasonality.

“People are a lot more interested in what seasonal fish they should be eating. They often ask me if they are from deepsea, three-week or day boats. We are asked a lot of difficult questions. Therefore, we feel we are heading into a very responsible area now – of using what is there, and if we are told not to use a species then we are very willing to take it off the menu,” he said.

The only farmed, organic fish sold at Bentley’s is smoked salmon. The rest is wild-caught from day boats around the country.

Corrigan has also given his backing to the return of the national Seafood Week, 9-16 October, which aims to encourage consumers up and down the country to eat more seafood more often.

“It's great to see that we're becoming more and more interested in seafood and the variety we have throughout the year. Home cooks are more confident experimenting with various recipes in the kitchen and we need to encourage this enthusiasm.

“Seafood Week is a great initiative. We're an island with amazing produce and we should be making the most of our beautiful seafood. This campaign is warmly welcomed, I am proud to support it and encourage others to do the same,” he said.


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