Chefs dismiss salmon scare

12 January 2001
Chefs dismiss salmon scare

Restaurateurs have dismissed the news that some farmed salmon could contain dangerously high levels of pollutants as just another health scare.

Researchers believe that the contaminants, which include pesticides and chemicals, are being transmitted to salmon in food pellets made from wild fish.

The chemicals present in the salmon are thought to attack the human nervous, immune and reproductive systems.

Matthew Lee, joint chef and owner of the 40-seat Magpies restaurant in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, said: "Government scientists have got nothing else to do. They've done beef, pork, eggs and chicken; they played with lamb; cod is in danger of becoming extinct; and now it's salmon. It's yet another scare.

"We are led by our customers. If they no longer want salmon, we won't sell it."

Alan Craigie, chef and owner of the 36-seat Creel restaurant in St Margaret's Hope, Orkney, said: "I will certainly keep salmon on the menu. I don't think there is any problem whatsoever."

Hilary Brown, chef and co-owner of the 26-seat La Potinière restaurant in Gullane, East Lothian, echoed his thoughts. She said: "We will continue to serve it. I don't think it is anything to be worried about."

David Pitchford, chef and owner of Read's in Faversham, Kent, was not so sure. He has taken salmon off the menu at his 40-seat restaurant. He said: "All these scares should teach us the broader lesson that we cannot mess around with nature."

London-based wine-bar chain Jamies has become the latest company to take cod off its menus in a bid to help safeguard the fish's survival. Conran Restaurants was last month accused of performing a publicity stunt when it did the same (Caterer, 21 December, page 4).

by Louise Bozec

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 11-17 January 2000

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