Cookery school team with Selfridges in un-shellfish display

With the odd exception, whereby cookery school’s come to you, to develop your culinary prowess you have to not only find the cookery courses you want but also make your own way there to develop the art. This weekend gone, Leiths changed all that by taking their cookery school on the road with a lesson in environmental issues as well as the kitchen.

Selfridges Food Halls are in the throws of promoting sustainable fisheries and have tagged their campaign ‘Project Ocean’, which pretty much leaves nothing to the imagination – fair play. And it was to the Oxford Street store that Leiths bundled up their cookery utensils and left the relative comfort of their Wendell Road home in London to set up stall on the famous outlet’s vast food floor.

Fishing from sustainable sources is becoming a key world environmental issue, with one report only last week suggesting that, by 2050, we will have depleted 90% of the ocean’s edible fish if we don’t start taking our responsibilities to our submarinal friends more seriously. With this in mind, Louisa and Helene, two renowned chefs from the cookery school, set about demonstrating fish and shellfish recipes to highlight just what can be achieved in the kitchen using ocean-going creatures from controlled areas.

There were plenty of shoppers willing to taste the recipes and the girls even managed to get around and inspect the offerings from other traders displaying their wares in the famous outlet’s food hall. The highlights for many interested parties were the recipes produced by the two chefs. And, let’s face it, to learn to cook fish – and their shell-encrusted cousins – is an art in itself. Two minutes too much and it’s burnt and tasteless; a little underdone or using slightly out-of-date produce and your meal-time guests are less likely to remember the hors d’oeuvres than the hors-spittle.

But the girls, drawing upon all of their cookery course experience, pulled it off a treat, using fish recipes that incorporated trout, vegetables and a drop of vino blanc ,for shellfish lovers, a potted dish using rice, prawns (and their stock) and herbs to prove that there’s more to our pink little friends than a plastic fork, polystyrene tray and drowning their taste with vinegar.

So please act now to help sustain and grow the oceans’ rapidly-depleting livestock; come 2050 and I’m in my eightieth year, I’m darned sure I’ll be needing all the cod-liver oil I can get. I just hope that there’s still a few cod left to keep me mobile. Thanks.

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