Why do we use Cod?! Why not just have the sustainable options on the menu and nothing else?
The problem is, almost everyone still loves Cod. We’re not ready to pull the rug out from under their feet just yet. That would be like having a pub which served nothing but hand-crafted, locally made artisan beers, and no Carlsberg, Guinness or Tribute, no Stella, no Strongbow... Nice idea, see how long that lasts though. We still have to please our customers. One day Coley and Pollock will be on all fish and chip shop boards, but right now it’s a baby steps process for us.
Our Cod comes from Smales, (click the button below for more intel...)
and comes to us frozen. I appreciate the irony of us parking in front of the big blue English Channel and flogging frozen Baltic Cod instead of local kit. Here are our reasons for doing this:
1. Consistency. The frozen product is the same weight and fantastic quality, every single time. The locally supplied market produce can be very inconsistent and very weather dependant, usually thanks more to the shameless money grubbing efforts of the middlemen who supply it rather than the fishermen themselves.
2. Price! This is a big one. If we used fresh Cornish Cod, we’d be charging over £10 a portion. Some of the folk who visit the van might be able to pay that, but at heart, we want to stay as a treat for the everyman, and offer a traditional fish and chip supper which appeals on all fronts: price and quality.
Check out this link and see the different rating for different fisheries. Our otter trawled Baltic Cod scores well, especially compared to the local North East Atlantic fisheries. But this doesn’t mean we’re going to stop offering our delicious fresh local sustainable Cornish alternatives!
4. Freshness. Again, I appreciate the irony of this statement, given the proximity of the sea to us. But these days, the big fishing boats might be out for a week at a time, with the fish sat on slush ice in the hold. The fish merchants might then keep that fish in their fridges for days and days during slacker times. The frozen Cod we buy is frozen solid at sea as soon as it’s landed and prepared on board, probably by big bearded burly Norwegians, and comes to us in perfect, pearly white, flawlessly fresh condition. It is, without a doubt, the most consistently high quality frying fish you can get, if you don’t have the privilege of your own boat/ a very friendly local fisherman with a licence to sell to the public.
Crazy world, eh?