Sustainability is of huge importance to Fish Union. Co-owners Richard Kirkwood and Andy Roberts strive to source as locally as possible which gives them the opportunity to support UK fisherman & their communities, whilst reducing the carbon footprint and ensuring that the fish their guests consume is as fresh as possible. We take five minutes to chat to Chef and Fish Union co-owner, Andy, about all things sustainability at Fish Union, read on to find out more and to find out more about this half of the chef duo….
Q: Fish Union is passionate about sourcing fresh, sustainable fish. Why is it important to you to know where the fish and the produce you use comes from?
A: With over fishing & ecologically damaging practices continuing to jeopardize sea bed ecosystems we believe in sourcing sustainable fish caught or produced in ways that allow the long term future & viability of species, the wellbeing & care of the oceans.
Q: Why is using local suppliers important to you?
A: The livelihoods of the various fishery dependent communities are intrinsic to maintaining local supply. In turn this also reduces carbon footprint from less travel miles subsequently assisting the maintenance of quality & freshness of product. Using local supply also gives us access to valuable local knowledge with regard to seasonal fish movements enabling us to source the best quality product at its best time of the year.
Q: What does Fish Union do to avoid food waste?
A: We attempt as much as possible to utilize every part of every product we buy or produce. Just one example of which being the production of in house fish stock with resultant fish bones from prepared whole fish which in turn can be used in a number of our products & dishes. We also utilize preserving methods such as brining, pickling, curing & smoking to further avoid food waste.
Q: What else does Fish Union do to drive sustainability and support the environment?
A: Practically indestructible plastics are causing multiple detrimental environmental issues, to combat this we choose to use compostable biodegradable packaging, from produce containers & cling film made from sugarcane to carrier bags made from potato starch. These products naturally organically break down in the environment thus returning any remaining nutrients.
Q: You are a certified Coral reef restoration diver, can you tell us a bit about that?
A: One of the most rewarding environmental conservation projects I’ve participated in was to become a certified coral reef restoration diver. I likened it to underwater gardening! It involved learning how to take cuttings of corals, attaching them to submerged growing frames (the equivalent of potting out plant cuttings in a greenhouse!) & then ‘planting’ suitably grown on coral cuttings where they can eventually develop into reef ecosystems. The potential benefits of which are manyfold for the marine environment.
Q: What is your favourite fish dish?
A: A difficult question & hard to pin down one dish however I’m a great lover of John Dory, a super fresh sparkling dory with a simple side of samphire, that’ll do for me.
Q: When you’re not at Fish Union what do you like doing?
A: I’m a great believer in mind & body health as a basis for a good life & any spare time I have you’ll usually find me doing yoga or cycling……………although not at the same time!!!!