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On the soul food trail

PUBLISHED: 15:01 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:28 25 August 2010

YES WE CAN: Chef Sam Wydymus.

YES WE CAN: Chef Sam Wydymus.

ONE of the county s most stunning locations was the setting for the launch of a new guide aimed at boosting appreciation of native fresh fish, writes Michael Adkins.

ONE of the county's most stunning locations was the setting for the launch of a new guide aimed at boosting appreciation of native fresh fish, writes Michael Adkins.

The Soul to Sole Fish Trail guide was unveiled at The Coastguard pub and restaurant overlooking St Margaret's Bay, in Dover.

By highlighting Kent's flagship fish restaurants and fishmongers, the booklet also features information on conservation, particularly the depletion of fish stocks due to overfishing.

The free pocket-sized guide, compiled by Produced in Kent, will be available in Dartford and Gravesend tourist centres and farm shops with the aim of att racting visitors to the coast.

During the unveiling on Friday, chef Sam Wydymus revealed the importance of sourcing local fish.

She said: "We use local fish from our area for a variety of reasons. We know where it comes from, it keeps the mileage down and gives us seasonality.

"If a particular fish is in season we will put it on the menu, alongside the vegetables that are in season. By doing this, we constantly keep our menu fresh and the fish fresh, giving visitors the best possible meals we can for the time of year they are visiting.

"The general message is 'yes' local fish is the best option. It just makes sense." As part of the unveiling, guests, including Amanda Cottrell, patron of Produced in Kent, were treated to a sample of fish dishes created at the Coastguard restaurant and sourced from the surrounding 30 miles of sea.

Among the delicious meals tasted by guest was the famous mackerel roasted on pebbles with a seaweed dressing, a dish re-created from the history books of Rome, and the Coastguards award-winning fish pie.

About 50 restaurants and fishmongers feature in the guide. It offers recipes to try, including the meal made famous by the Romans and a history of the UK's great British institution - fish and chips. Tips on how to prepare fish and information on the industry are also featured.

And if you've had enough of sampling the delights of the Kent restaurants, a route for a picturesque walk across the East Kent countryside, taking in views of the English Channel and, on a clear day, the coast of France is included.

Julie Monkman, manager of Produced in Kent, said: "While consumers have grasped the health benefits, there are concerns about depleted fish stocks.

"The wonderful news about the fishing industry in Kent is fishermen tend to work with small day boats, rather than the damaging deep net fishing.

"The 'trail' guide has provided a powerful mouthpiece for us to communicate this information to the increasing numbers of consumers who want to be environmentally responsible and prefer to consume native fish stocks and thereby reduce their 'carbon footprint'."

The Soul to Sole Fish Trail is the fifth in a series of trails published by Produced in Kent.

Others are Sheep Ahoy, Apple Source, Red, White and Brut! Wine and vineyard trail and Hops and Downs.

You can also download the guide from www.producedinkent.co.uk

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