Crustastun Showcased at St David’s Day Welsh Seafood lunch

The Welsh Seafood Cluster celebrated a sensational St David’s Day lunch featuring the best seafood from the Welsh coastline at top London restaurant L’Oscar, with 70 top chefs in attendance.

We were delighted to attend as guests, meet sefood producers from the cluster and showcase Crustastun to top chefs in the kitchen.

Nia Griffith, North Wales Seafood Cluster Manager from the Cywain project’s Welsh Seafood Cluster welcomed the chefs to the lunch and told them all about the project which supports and champions Welsh Seafood.

Nia said

“It’s really important that we showcase our wonderful producers to UK chefs. It was a great opportunity to welcome sector leaders to meet the chefs and students who cooked the lunch and fully appreciate the versatility and quality of Welsh Seafood within the delicious dishes that these top chefs have created with the various species showcased on the day.”

Our Director, Guy Cooper attended the event and really enjoyed being able to promote animal sentience and the need for chefs to think more carefully about humane dispatch of crustaceans in their kitchens and this event was the perfect platform as live crab and lobster were both on the menu.

There is currently a huge marketing campaign being led by the Cluster to promote white claw bands on lobster to show they come from Wales.

Nia continued

“The Lobster Banding and Branding project is now in its second phase following the success of the pilot project during 2020. The branded #WelshSeafood bands are placed on the claws of lobsters caught in Welsh waters by Welsh vessels, destined for the UK Domestic market. By using the #WelshSeafood hashtag, which consumers can follow on social media, they can also share their pictures and recipes and become a part of the story of Welsh Seafood.

By buying a branded Welsh lobster, consumers and chefs can be assured that the fishers who have caught the lobsters have done so sustainably. Each fisher within the project has pledged to re-introduce berried-hens (female lobsters that have eggs) into the sea to reproduce, and also to use escape hatches within their pots which allows any by-catch or lobsters below the legal landing size to be able to exit the pots.”

Lobster fishImage titleerman Sion Williams, from Porth Colmon, added:

“The idea was to be able to market Welsh lobster because we have started to sell more in the UK as opposed to the continent. We needed something that would say Welsh on the actual lobster and the claw band was the result.

“A lot goes into the harvesting of lobster along the Welsh coast on top of the generation-to-generation passing down of knowledge. We fish daily on a small scale and are very sustainable. We promote grading of the catch and provide escape gaps to all fishermen so that smaller lobsters can escape. We want to make all lobsters caught under a certain size illegal so that we can actually promote this sustainability.

The guest chefs who joined Allan on in the kitchen on the day were Tom Westerland (Former National Chef of Wales and Head Chef at Crockers Henley, Peter Gorton (International Chef Consultant), Richard Davies (Great British Menu Winner 2013 and Executive Chef at Calcot & Spa) and Jamie Houghton (President of the UK Pastry Team and Pastry Sous Chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons).

Welsh Seafood and drinks producers took to the microphone throughout the lunch to present the produce used in the chef’s recipes to the guests while they were enjoying the dishes and the Welsh drinks paired with them that included Velfrey Quality Sparkling Wine, White Castle Sparkling Wine, Wye Valley Elderflower Mead, Llaethliw white wine and Ancre Hill Rose.

See the Crustastun in action at L’Oscar

Allan Pickett, exec chef of L’Oscar Hotel, said:

“It’s a pleasure to work with such fine students and senior chef peers, cooking with the amazing bounty of Welsh food and drink. It was fantastic to see how inspired and enthusiastic all of the students from the four colleges were on the day. I’m equally delighted to have served such distinguished chefs as guests on the day. I have worked with The Chefs’ Forum since the beginning ten years ago and its to see how much it has grown both in education and influence. It’s a great time to be Welsh with such fantastic produce.

The participating chefs created a truly spectacular menu featuring oyster, crab, mussels, scallops and lobster. Great to use the Crustastun too – It’s really important that we as chefs embrace humane dispatch of crustaceans.

Richard Davies, exec chef of Calcot Manor, in charge of the lobster ravioli, said: “Cooking with this level of Image titlequality makes my job easy. The Welsh Lobster ravioli were stunning and it tasted even better as a result of being dispatched humanely with Crustastun. The meat was far sweeter as it was less stressed.”

Here’s the recipe which we’ll definitely be recreating in the Mitchell & Cooper development kitchen:

Guy Cooper concluded

“I really enjoyed the day - The Chefs’ Forum lunches are a great way of bringing everybody together through food, showcasing top chefs and inspiring the next generation of hospitality professionals.

This Welsh Seafood Lunch showed chefs from all over the UK the reason why they should incorporate the finest quality Welsh seafood and drinks into their menus and be mindful of humane dispatch of crustaceans in their kitchens.

The meat tastes better as it is less stressed – Fact. It also improves the level of animal welfare in the professional kitchen.

We plan to loan the Crustastun unit to many more top London chefs over the coming months to educate and promote ethical and humane dispatch of live crustaceans in the professional kitchen.”

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