Thursday, March 14, 2013

Gone Fishin’

How does your food go from this...

It’s not what you think. We’re not kicking back with a line in the water, or nursing a hot toddy over a hole in the ice. And there’s no catch and release policy. It is ‘Catch and Kill’ day at Liaison, and there is not much nostalgia involved.

It is a city kids’ fishing trip, as our students trek over to the nearby Asian market, a cooler full of water in tow. The merchants might think we are strange (they have never said), but are always happy to scoop a dozen or so tilapia from their live tanks and deposit them unceremoniously into the cooler. They handle live fish every day, so this non-event is a contrast to what lies in store back in the classroom.

One by one, the students, with varying degrees of trepidation, dip into the cooler to catch a fish with their bare hands, while trying to avoid the spiny back and dorsal fins. For most, it is the first time they have ever handled a whole fish, dead or alive. Some are repulsed at the prospect of knocking it on the head to kill it: others find filleting to be the greatest challenge.

The chef-instructors focus on the latter, but there’s a secondary message that they want to relay. Every piece of meat, fish or poultry that budding cooks and chefs will serve to their customers was at one time, a living, breathing being. We must respect and honour that life, and the process involved in bringing it to the table. this?

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