Chefs and food critics treated to Norwegian halibut

Around 100 British food critics, chefs and restauranteurs were treated to a culinary piece of Norway on 1 February at a reception in the Norwegian Ambassador’s residence to celebrate the sterling white halibut’s inclusion in the prestigious 2007 Bocuse d’Or competition.

Norwegian seafood has featured prominently in the history of the Bocuse d’Or competition and Norwegian white halibut and king crab were this year selected by the renowned Bocuse committee to be the main ingredients. In the competition, the Norwegian participant, Sven Erik Renaa won the prize for the best seafood dish, which of course featured sterling white halibut.

Nowadays, top chefs around the world like to use Norwegian seafood because of its quality, and the Bocuse d’Or has been an opportunity for these chefs, as well as the media, to discover the delights of sterling white halibut in particular. Consequently, the main supplier of Norwegian halibut, Marine Harvest, had brought chefs from the Culinary Institute of Norway to prepare seven different dishes of the halibut at the reception in London. In addition to the tasters, the guests were given a demonstration on how to prepare the fish by the 2003 Bocuse d’Or Gold medal winner Charles Tjessem.

Marine Harvest is the world’s largest aquaculture company with a harvest volume of about 420,000-430,000 tonnes gw of salmon and trout products in 2007 in about 20 countries. The company also produces white halibut, cod and yellowtail. In addition to fillet production and further processing in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Chile and Canada, the company has extended VAP (value added products) activities in USA, France, Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands.

Charles Tjessem demonstrates how to prepare sterling white halibut to his audience of 100 British food critics, chefs and restauranteurs. Photo: Leon Neal

Fisheries is one of Norway’s most important industries and registered a 32 percent increase in the exports of fish to UK from 2005 to 2006 from around £160 million (NOK 1966 mill.) to over £210 million (NOK 2587 mill.). There was a 35 percent export increase of fresh salmon, whilst other fish, mainly cod and haddock, showed a 37 percent increase.

These positive figures highlight the fact that the British want increasingly more fresh products and ready fillets, a tendency that started some years ago both within retail and catering. Simultaneously, the British market has developed into a very conscious consumer market, demanding more information about origin, sustainable fisheries and fishery policy. The Norwegian Embassy, the Norwegian Seafood Export Council and Innovation Norway organised a conference in October 2006 in London in order to highlight these topics. To read more about this seminar, click here.

Sterling white halibut tasters at the reception. Photo: Leon Neal

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The 2003 Bocuse d’Or Gold medal winner Charles Tjessem demonstrates how to prepare sterling white halibut.Photo: Leon Neal

Tasty! Sterling white halibut.Photo: Marine Harvest

The guests at the Ambassador's residence taste the seven different dishes of sterling white halibut prepared by the Culinary Institute of Norway.Photo: Leon Neal