The Tasmanian Competition
2017 Tasmanian Fish and Chips Industry Award and People's Choice Winner
TASMANIAN GOURMET SEAFOODS
Name: Michael Blake
Business: Tasmanian Gourmet Seafoods, Cambridge, Tasmania
Can you share a happy fish and chip memory?
When I was young deckhand, working on a fishing boat off the west coast of Tasmania, my skipper gave me what he called ‘Port Davey Scallops’. An octopus had damaged a couple of rock lobsters in our pots and they weren’t saleable. So the skipper took the tails, he cut them into pieces, then battered and deep-fried them. It was the first time I’d tasted rock lobster like that, and it’s stayed with me. It’s even become one of our signature dishes.
Where have you eaten the best fish and chips?
Tasmanian Gourmet Seafoods of course. But apart from that, it would be when I was younger, working on a fishing boat and we cooked the fresh fish we’d caught that day – including the battered lobster.
In your business, how do you cook your fish & chips?
We cook our fish and chips either grilled, battered or crumbed. We only use rice bran oil and we change it every day. We think that is the secret to having consistent tasting food.
What seems to be customer’s favourite fish choice?
The fish of the day always sells well because it’s fresh fish – although it could be anything – Flake, Gemfish, Blue Grenadier or Flathead – and because it’s reasonably priced. At the other end of the scale, we also have battered rock lobster and lobster thermidore that sell very well.
We always use the fresh fish, and cook with rice bran oil for frying. We make a fresh beer batter every day, or panko crumbs if it’s crumbed fish.
What is your personal favourite fish to use for fish and chips?
My personal favourite is Tasmanian scallops, crumbed. I first had this with my family as a very young child, and I’ve loved them ever since. There’s nothing better, in my mind, than fresh Tasmanian scallops.
Do you have a cooking tip to share?
When we prepare the lobster thermidore, we save the water we cook lobsters in for a stock, to add extra flavor to the sauce.
What Australian wine (or other beverage) would you match with your fish & chips? The local Tasmanian sauvignon blanc from Clemens Hill is very popular selection with our fish.
How long have you been making/serving fish and chips?
We started Tasmanian Gourmet Seafoods in 2015, so since then, although I’ve been involved in the various aspects of the Tasmanian seafood industry for decades, from catching it to exporting it. But it seemed like the best way to bring fresh local seafood to the locals was actually to open our own retail and restaurant business.
Tasmanian State Awards voting ended at 5pm 26th April 2017 for the judging round selection. Fish & Chips Public Voting for People's choice ended 12th June 2017.
The top 5 were:
1. Tasmanian Gourmet Seafoods
2. Claremont Take Away
4. Fraggles Fish and Chips