Did you know that 93% of global fisheries are fully fished or over-exploited? FEDHASA Cape recently challenged members to kick unsustainable practices to the curb through a fast-paced cook-off in partnership with SASSI (Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative). It’s hoped that through this cook-off, the industry will be more sustainable and creative in their use of seafood, and will spread the word to consumers.

25 chefs participated in the cook-off, which was held at the Cape Town Hotel School in Granger Bay. The chefs were tasked with creating a dish using sustainable seafood from the SASSI approved list (click here to access the easy-to-use app).

WWF spokesperson Pavitray Pillay says: “Chefs play a key role in transforming the food and hospitality industries to become more sustainable.  Being sustainable and particularly making informed choices around the seafood they serve not only makes good environmental sense but also good business sense. Chefs are key to driving change, they can create wonderful sustainable and delicious seafood dishes that inspire and create awareness.  WWF-SASSI together with FEDHASA Cape is promoting these responsible practices so that our oceans can provide seafood for many years to come.”

The cook-off teams were led by executive chefs Rudi Liebenberg of the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Jocelyn Myers-Adams, representing the South African Chefs Association, Shane Louw of Mont Rochelle, Judi Fourie of the Victoria and Alfred Hotel, and Lindsay Venn of Tsogo Sun.

Liebenberg led the winning team, who created a dish of pan-fried hake, seafood curry, smoked salmon tortellini and a tomato salsa. Judges on the day were WWF-SASSI ambassador Jason Whitehead, The Vineyard hotel executive chef Carl van Rooyen and FEDHASA CAPE Restaurant segment chairperson and celebrity chef Pete Goffe-Wood and Chef Nadin Pospech from Top Nosh Catering.

Van Rooyen says: “Fine dining food doesn’t need to contain fish on the red list and, with a bit of creativity, can showcase the many exceptional fish species found in South African waters. Initiatives like this FEDHASA cook-off is a fantastic way to highlight our local talent, as well as the sustainable practices that should be embraced in kitchens across the Western Cape.”

FEDHASA Cape chairperson Jeff Rosenberg says encouraging sustainable practices in the hospitality industry is at the heart of the association’s mandate.

“The Western Cape hospitality industry is embracing sustainability and responsible tourism through a range of practices. The cook-off event is just one way to show that we are contributing towards protecting the Western Cape’s natural beauty and resources, and reducing our impact on the natural environment.”

Ingredients for the event were sponsored by Checkers Food Services, with kitchen appliances supplied by Banks Kitchen Shop and donated to the Mitchell’s Plain School of Skills.

For more information on the SASSI list, or to download the app, visit http://wwfsassi.co.za.

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