Supper club offers support to Scottish seafood sector

Published on
May 7, 2020

The inaugural virtual Seafood Supper Club, aimed at encouraging more Scots to cook fish at home while also providing much-needed support for the country’s seafood industry, has been hosted by chef and restaurateur Carina Contini.

Contini, of Edinburgh’s Contini, The Scottish Café and Restaurant, and Cannonball, took 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 more than 150,000 people, will share the recipe, video, tips they have picked up with their audiences, and discount codes for local suppliers. 

“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,” Contini said.

The Seafood Supper Club initiative has been developed by trade body Seafood Scotland to provide market support for the local seafood sector, which is “suffering greatly” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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.   

“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,” Seafood Scotland Interim Head Donna Fordyce said. “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.”

Fordyce explained that the initiative was urgently needed because 80 percent of Scottish seafood is usually exported, which is putting fishermen and processors at a distinct disadvantage. Meanwhile, the U.K. imports 60 percent of its seafood for domestic consumption, because the public is hooked on five main species; cod, haddock, tuna, salmon, and prawns.

“The local consumer market is one thing that is keeping seafood businesses going, and if people buy Scottish seafood to cook at home, they may survive. Many businesses have turned to contactless home delivery, or selling via existing fishmongers and retailers. However, we know people are hesitant about 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,” she said.

Scotland Food and Drink has just launched www.supportlocal.scot, an online hub where consumers can search for local providers of all types of produce, including seafood.

Photo courtesy of Seafood Scotland

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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