In your own words, briefly explain the competition you are entering and the ethos behind it.
The competition in which I am partaking is about promoting sustainable fish products which are not well known to the larger public. It is being hosted by SeaWeb Europe who have designed this competition to educate society about the damaging effects o f over-fishing in the hope that we can develop a sustainable fish and seafood market. I have to create two separate dishes in three hours; one gastronomic to showcase skill and one that is simple and can easily be prepared at home to demonstrate that being sustainable do es not take extra effort.
How important do you feel sustainability is in the modern day culinary industry?
With the ever increasing rate at which our resources are being used nowadays, I feel that sustainability is paramount to the future of the culinary industry. If fish products continue to be consumed at the same rate, then it has been predicted that t here will be an extinction of all salt water fish by 2048 which will lead to a total collapse of the ecosystem. Therefore many chefs are being more conscientious in their choices for fish products. For a while now, chefs have been developing celebrity status and I feel t hat this is a wonderful platform to raise awareness and teach consumers to be more ecological with their choices. If the demand for certain exploited fish species reduces then supply will decrease, thereby allowing these fish numbers to rebuild.
How do you feel about representing ICI at such a prestigious event?
I am extremely proud to be representing ICI at this event. Without Chef Caine, I would never have heard of this and I would have missed out on an amazing opportunity. The support I have received from the school has helped me hugely in my preparation and I am very grateful for this.
Describe the two dishes that you will prepare for the competition?
My gastronomic dish consists of poached char marinated in squid ink and white wine steamed cockles on a celeriac puree with a coriander infusion, pickled carrots and a parmesan tuile. My home-style dish consists of pan fried char infused with Asian f lavours, homemade pasta, pickled carrots and fresh baby spinach
Which fish did you choose for your main dish and why?
I have chosen the fish Arctic char which belongs to the Salmonidae family and is similar to salmon and trout. Not only is this fish healthy and versatile but it is also green on the sustainable seafood list. Char is farmed using juveniles from establ ished breeders therefore no wild farming is necessary. Many people often question the ethics of fish farming as large numbers of fish are placed in one tank. However, what makes char unique is that they thrive in conditions where they are in high density and are in close contact with other fish. This is essentially part of their biological nature because if they have too much space around them then they actually start to develop poorly and are more susceptible to diseases. This characteristic is essentially what makes arctic char sustai nable and an ideal substitute to many endangered fish; like salmon.
As a culinary student, will sustainability form an important part of your thinking in your future career?
Sustainability will definitely form an important part of my career. Chefs are the forefront of the culinary industry and it is our corporate social responsibility to promote sustainable products. This competition has taught me that there are valuable products available that we are simply not so aware of and so now I am constantly going to think of how I can create something delicious using sustainable products. As chefs we have to respect the treasures that we have been given on this Earth so they can continue to be enjoyed for years to come.
Gloria will take part in the Olivier Roellinger Contest at the Yvon Bourges Dinard catering school in France on the 23rd March. We wishe her the best of luck and much success!
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