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Interview: Tom Kime, Fish & Co

Chef Tom Kime’s on a mission to relieve the pressure on the world’s overstressed fish stocks.

Interview: Tom Kime, Fish & Co

It takes roughly four kilograms of small fish, stripped from the sea and injected with chemicals to produce fishmeal, to yield one kilogram of farmed salmon. While salmon farmers continue to operate under the guise of feeding the planet, their actions place pressure on an already overstressed global wild fish stock, by removing large volumes of small fish from the ocean’s food supplies.

“The biggest threat to our oceans is ignorance,” tells Tom Kime, author and owner of sustainable seafood café Fish & Co. in Sydney.

“I see my job as inspiring people to be more sustainable in their choices, through positive education. It’s not about making people feel bad – it’s about presenting alternatives.”

At Fish & Co, Kime – who commissioned the World Gourmand winning book Fish Tales and famously cooked at his friend Jamie Oliver’s wedding – offers ethical alternatives to popular over-farmed seafood such as salmon and snapper, which are being hammered on restaurant menus around the world.

“We use bonito as opposed to a big piece of tuna because there’s much more of it, and it’s delicious,” he says. “When buying for home, look at some of the $12 a kilo options like mackerel, leatherjacket or sea mullet. Often, these fish have a higher buyer mass, meaning there’s more of them and they’re lower down the food chain.

Mussels and oysters are also good choices, explains Kime, “because they’re a great source of protein and they have a very short food chain, so they are low impact on the environment.”

“Banana prawns are also available in local supermarkets and are ethical and very sustainable.”

When in doubt, always look for the MSC ecolabel, certifying that the seafood has come from a sustainable fishery.

At Kime’s Fish & Co, diners can enjoy delicious locally sourced seafood in a cosy café environment. The wine list offers organic and biodynamic options to complement this.

“I’ve trained up the staff to know the fish they using,” says Kime. “The food is local and interesting with an ethical message conveyed in a subtly way. I don’t want to bang people over the head with it. There are rotating daily specials and of course, there’s fish and chips on the menu.”

Fish & Co is located 41 Booth St Annandale, NSW.

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