Chefs hooked on fresh catches

Fishing tournaments in Cayman
attract all members of society, including chefs. Two were on hand at the recent
Rooster Shootout fishing tournament looking for fresh fish.

Prime’s head chef Todd Enright was
at the weigh-in at the Grand
Harbour dock along with
Deckers’ Aussie chef Ron Hargrave. As Enright, a proud Canadian, states there’s
quite a bit of negotiating that goes into collecting fish.

“Both Ron and I have been buying local
fish since we moved to the island (it has been two and a half years for me
and for Ron it’s been 11 years) and have made quite a few contacts. When we got
to the weigh-in we just started asking the people we know what people have
caught and who is selling.

“We talked to one person that
caught a very nice Wahoo but he was asking way too much money for it so
we passed (at $7 per pound). So we both basically set the price at $5 per
pound (average for Wahoo, Dolphin, Snapper, and Rainbow Runner). Tuna has
gone up to $6-$6.50 as Tuna fishing has been a bit slow this year.”

Both men ended up walking away with
fish though it wasn’t cheap as Hargrave paid about CI$600 while Enright paid
about CI$355.

“A few people told us that Desi,
Royce, and Aaron Ebanks along with Al Parsons and Chris Briggs had caught
five or six nice Tuna at 60 mile bank,” Enright said. “As soon as they got in we
asked if they were selling. Ron managed to buy two nice ones weighing 58lbs and
40lbs.

“I did not get any that day but the
next day I got a call from someone else that had caught three nice Wahoo
with a total weight of 71lbs so I got those ones right away.”

With nearly CI$1,000 cash being
shelled out it might sound like a pricey venture for the cooks. But Enright is
quick to say the cost is worth the reward.

“Ever since I started at Prime
I have been very serious about buying local caught fish (with the exception of
smoked Salmon which I buy fresh and smoke here at the restaurant). It is
usually a bit more expensive to buy local but the quality can’t compare,”
Enright said. “When buying from somewhere else you really don’t know where it
has been, if it has been treated with preservatives or frozen. 

“After dealing with local fishermen
you realize the ones you can really trust and most of the time they call us right
after they caught it to see if we need any and a couple hours later we
have it at the restaurant. You really can’t get better quality than that. And
it really shows in the flavour when you cook it; just a bit of salt is all you need.
I don’t like to take away from the natural flavour of such great quality.

“Coming from southern Ontario I really didn’t
get the opportunity to buy fish of such quality for the restaurants I have
worked. The government restricts most selling of freshly caught fish but I have
been fishing my whole life and that is where I really noticed the difference.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Chefs need to stop trying to rip people off! 5 dollars per lb for fresh fish is way too low! Please next time you write a report like this ask the chefs how much it costs them to import a lower quality product!!!

    Personally, I would rather take my fresh catch and feed it to the South Sound Skillpots and Sandcrabs than sell it for 5$ per lb!

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