Chef to open Britain’s first ‘green’ chippy Published: 29 January, 2008
Tom Aikens once worked as a private chef for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber
A FAIRTRADE fish restaurant billed as Britain’s first ‘green’ chippy is set to open in the centre of Chelsea, London’s most fashionable district.
Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens has pledged to only cook fish that comes from sustainable sources, but eating with a conscience comes at a price, with his cod and chips selling for £11.50.
Called Tom’s Plaice, a restaurant combined with a traditional fish and chip shop, Aikens says the move is part of his campaign to highlight concerns about diminishing fish stocks. He argues that most fish sold in the UK are the product of what he calls ‘disgusting’ industrial methods of fishing. He says he will not be using frozen fish caught around countries like Norway and Iceland.
His new shop will sell fish that has mainly been line-caught by small, family-run boats operating out of Newlyn, Plymouth, Hastings, Lowestoft or Peterhead, and only in places where fishing has been approved by the Marine Stewardship Council.
Commenting, Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said: “The fish that they say they will be using at Tom’s Place will come pretty close to the bullseye of what’s ethical. Not everyone will be able to afford those prices, but if there’s a segment of the market that is prepared to pay a premium, in the same way that people pay more for organic food in supermarkets, then that’s fine.”
He added that the restaurant was an example of the upmarket trend in fish sales, whether it is in food stores or traditional outlets like fried fish restaurants. Fish restaurants were on the increase, thanks partly to TV chefs like Rick Stein.
Aikens, who comes from a Norwich family of wine merchants, said that ever since he opened his first restaurant (Tom’s Kitchen) which is mainly meat focused, he had been thinking about doing the same with fish. He admits that it is important he gets it right with Tom’s Plaice, otherwise he was likely to face a tide of criticism.
Aikens once worked as a private chef for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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