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Sustainable Fish – Dish of the Day for Haute Cuisine

29 February 2012

FRANCE - While 55 per cent of all UK restaurant-goers now expect their fish to be responsibly sourced, the catering sector in France has been slower to catch on. But winners of a national competition show that aspiring young chefs in Europe’s culinary capital are now tackling the challenge with gusto.

The first ever National Catering Competition for Sustainable Seafood, chaired by Olivier Roellinger, saw professional France’s young chefs go head to head during a three month long competition, to prove their knowledge of seafood sourcing. Candidates demonstrated their ability to devise and cook suitable recipes for use both at home and within France’s smartest eateries.

Olivier Roellinger, four-time Michelin star winner, Vice President of the Relais & Châteaux Association and ambassador of the competition said: “Over-fishing is an issue which affects everyone who loves food, from haute cuisine chefs to restaurant diners, to cooks at home”. Mr Roellinger continued: “The young generation will have to be creative to face new challenges that concern seafood products today. So I am really happy that it is our young chefs, who are leading the way in showing how haute cuisine can scale new heights using sustainable seafood.”

As Europe faces 70-80 per cent of its stocks being overfished, France is Europe’s second largest seafood market, with the average consumer eating 35kg per year (the European average is 21kg per year). Moreover, France’s consumption is steadily increasing, having risen from 20kg per year in the 1960s. So attitudes within the French catering sector will affect the sustainability of our seas.

Véronique Lefebvre, Commissioner of the Prorestel trade show said: “Proper management of marine resources is essential. Above all, it requires awareness. [Professionals] play a crucial role as buyers, but also as ambassadors for sustainable products.”

Organised to encourage French demand for responsibly sourced seafood, the competition was coordinated by the French School of culinary arts, Ferrandi, and Seafood Choices, an initiative from the international conservation charity SeaWeb. It was sponsored by the catering school of Dinard, the Association Relais et Châteaux and the Chamber of Commerce of Saint-Malo (Brittany) through its show “Prorestel”. Recipes created by the winners are available at www.allianceproduitsdelamer.org .

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