Sunday, July 26, 2009

Raymond Blanc takes endangered fish species off the menu

Growing demand from customers prompts Michelin-starred chef to challenge competitors to follow his lead on sustainable fishing

Raymond Blanc at his Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. ALESSANDRO ABBONIZIO / AFP

By Susie Mesure

Both are Michelin-starred restaurants with world-famous chefs. But there the similarity ends. Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, which is owned by Raymond Blanc, has thrown the spotlight back on the sushi chain Nobu's refusal to stop serving endangered species of fish by becoming the first high-end restaurant to offer diners sustainable seafood approved by the environmental charity Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Growing consumer demand for guilt-free fish dishes is putting pressure on restaurants to overhaul their sourcing policies – and to tell their customers about it. In a first for a Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Manoir's menus feature the MSC logo, which means diners can opt for dishes made with Dover sole or mackerel without having to worry about where it has come from.

Blanc called for other restaurateurs to follow his lead, adding: "By supporting MSC, I am ensuring that, as a chef, I am helping to ensure that fish stocks will be replenished for generations to come." His decision to serve certifiably sustainable seafood is in stark contrast to Nobu Matsuhisa, who has snubbed calls to take bluefin tuna off the menus at his world-renowned chain, despite evidence that it is being fished to extinction. A host of celebrities including Stephen Fry, Jemima Khan, Elle Macpherson and Sienna Miller are boycotting the sushi chain, previously a favoured A-list haunt, in protest.

Yesterday Nobu London's head chef, Hari Shetty, defended the restaurant's choice to keep serving bluefin tuna. "It's legally available and it's in demand, so there's no reason not to sell it." He said he was not aware of the MSC certification scheme, but added that the restaurant did sell sustainable fish. …

Raymond Blanc takes endangered fish species off the menu

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