North Sea Chefs – The Netherlands was launched on 21 May 2019 at a dinner organised at Pure C in Cadzand. Following the example of Belgian colleagues who founded North Sea Chefs in 2011, a group of Dutch chefs have now joined forces to raise awareness about unknown and unrecognised North Sea fish and by-catch with a view to ensuring sustainable North Sea fishing.
North Sea Chefs wants to set an example of how chefs can proactively put the issue of sustainability on the agenda outside the kitchen walls and raise awareness for fishermen, ship owners, sellers, chefs and even customers.
The first North Sea Chefs Netherlands are Sergio Herman and Syrco Bakker of Pure C, Thijs Meliefste of Meliefste, Soenil Bahadoer of De Lindehof, Jannis Brevet of Inter Scaldes, Nicola Misera of AIRrepublic, Benny Blisto of BAK, Jef Schuur of JEF, Jonnie Boer of De Librije, Arnout van der Kolk of Restaurant C, Hendrik & Kamiel Buysse of BLEND, Guillaume de Beer & Freek van Noortwijk of Breda Restaurant, Edwin Vinke of De Kromme Watergang DP Arkenbout of De Vluchthaven and Dick Middelweerd of De Treeswijkhoeve.
Sergio Herman and Syrco Bakker were already involved with North Sea Chefs Belgium. “The North Sea has no borders and I think that it was obvious that North Sea Chefs Belgium also appealed to us Dutch,” said Sergio Herman. “It is logical for me and Syrco to become part of that club. I was born, raised and grew up at the North Sea. I therefore fully support the idea that the North Sea offers more than just turbot, brill or sole. I endorse the story of working with lesser known and yet tasteful fish. Seeing the value of by-catch also requires a bit of education and awareness. I have been working on this for a while and with the founding of NorthSeaChefs Nederland we can step up a gear together,” said the Dutch chef.
North Sea Chefs was founded in Belgium by Filip Claeys of De Jonkman in Bruges and Rudi Van Beylen in Hof ten Damme in Kallo. Belgian chefs have united since 2011 to incorporate lesser known North Sea fish into the kitchen. Through culinary applications they also want to create significant added value for the usually ‘worthless’ by-catch.
The success of North Sea Chef Belgium deserved to be copied. The Belgian project helped to raise awareness on the by catch issue. It is estimated that between 800,000 and 950,000 tonnes of nutritious fish are dumped into the North Sea as by-catch usually dead. They managed to raise awareness on this issue and subsequently received support from among others, the European Fisheries Fund, the Flemish Community and the Province of West Flanders. As a thoughtful and result-oriented action group, NorthSeaChefs Belgium helped to promote the concept of sustainability concretely.
NorthSeaChefs Belgium as an organization has succeeded in bringing a wide range of unknown and previously commercially “worthless” fish such as pouting into the market. This tasty fish, formerly a by-catch now has commercial value and are now a fully-fledged part of the food value chain. This also helps to decrease consumption pressure on other popular and overfished fish species.
Dutch chefs will now be following this approach and have endorsed the same charter and code of conduct as their Belgian colleagues. In the same vein, a number of Dutch ambassadors are taking the lead to promote the ideas of NorthSeaChefs.