Students Full Bottle on WA Seafood
WAFIC’s Smartfish education program, in its 2nd year, is giving hospitality students throughout Western Australian high schools the grand opportunity to cook with WA seafood. The program plays a vital role in educating students about our sustainable fisheries and the importance of buying local seafood.
Smartfish chef, Zoe Kumar, stresses the importance of educating our younger generation to cook with WA seafood.
“It is vital for our younger generation to learn seafood cooking techniques and the importance of our local industry – they are our future. If we introduce them to the idea of cooking with local, underutilised seafood species – we can be confident in knowing these students can become champions and ambassadors of the industry going forward.”
Zoe says that the program has been designed to showcase to students the concept of ocean to plate and that cooking with seafood doesn’t have to be hard – or expensive!
“Honestly, it surprises me how many high school year 11 and 12 hospitality students have never handled a whole fresh fish before when Western Australia has access to some of the best seafood in the world,” she said.
“As a chef, I hope to inspire our students, by showing them that there is more than the store bought frozen pre-made fish meals.”
“And that seafood doesn’t have to be expensive to cook with. That is why the program emphasises using underutilised species, so hospitality students learn and feel confident in cooking with local, cheaper and often underrated, species such as Herring and Mullet.”
In each class students hear from a WAFIC and industry representative who teach about the value, quality and importance of WA’s fishing industry including career opportunities and economic and cultural value. Secondly students proceed to watch a chef demonstration – using local, fresh, seafood before being required to replicate the seafood recipe.
Most recently, the year 12 hospitality students from John 23rd in Mount Claremont, had the opportunity to create sardine Pâté, made with Fremantle Sardines, to spread onto bruschetta. “What you have to remember and understand is that these sardines are not imported or from overseas, they are from the pristine waters of Fremantle – practically from our backyard. We are so lucky to have access to local, sustainable seafood – but we need to ensure that this continues for generations to come. You have to support our local industry,” WAFIC representative Dani said to the class.
Programs like the above are important as often school hospitality budgets are restricted – meaning that teachers are unable to afford to purchase local, WA seafood. Unfortunately, many hospitality students do not get to experience cooking with local WA produce – or have any knowledge of the WA’s multi-million-dollar seafood industry. Thanks to the programs like Smartfish, students are now learning and understanding the local seafood – including techniques to feel confident about cooking with local produce.
Educating Western Australian students on the importance and benefits of our local seafood industry and promoting underutilised species remains a priority for WAFIC. It’s all about changing perceptions and increasing what students know about WA’s sustainable seafood industry. If you’re an industry representative and would like to be a part of the program and educate students – please contact Dani via [email protected]
Special thanks to all of our industry reps who have been involved in the program and Prepare Produce Produce for organising school visits.