Monday, 29 August 2011

The British Fish Craft Championships

The Harbour Festival in Cardiff Bay takes place over August bank holiday weekend as part of the Cardiff Festival. It is becoming a more interesting foodie event than the actual Cardiff Food Festival that occurs in this location earlier in the summer. One reason for this is The British Fish Craft Championships that take place on the Sunday, in a marquee run by the National Federation of Fishmongers that is devoted to seafood-related events throughout the weekend (e.g., Monday sees the Welsh Oyster Opening Championship).

This is the third year that the Fish Craft Championships have been held at the Harbour (Fish’n’Ships) Festival. Here, Britain’s top fishmongers demonstrate their skills and compete in a variety of categories. The marquee was packed throughout Sunday, with video screens helping the audience to follow the action. The categories depicted here are for preparing salmon, halibut and arranging a fish display.

In the salmon filleting competition, three Scottish salmon had to be prepared in 12 minutes. This involved skinning and filleting one, preparing equal-sized steaks from another, and approaching the third freestyle. Scales and pin bones were removed, and a high level of presentation was required.

The halibut preparation time was ten minutes, in which the fish was filleted and arranged in equal and attractive portion sizes along with prawns, lemon and decorative seaweed.

The collage competition involved competitors getting a box of assorted fish and making an attractive display from them. Fish can be kept whole, although some were filleted, and displayed along with lemons and seaweed. The audience were asked to guess the number of fish species in the boxes (between 9 and 13, I believe).

In addition to fish, one category had the fishmongers using their skills on poultry. In the categories I saw, it was mainly Morrison’s and local fishmonger Ashton’s battling it out for glory. Afterwards, the prepared fish was either barbequed on The Fig Tree’s stand or sold outside the marquee. We went home with some bargain-priced salmon and halibut.

Harbour Festival

National Federation of Fishmongers:

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