What do you do as the owner of a sushi bar when you realise that worldwide fish stocks are in crisis? I was presented with this problem when one day in 1998 I walked into my restaurant, Moshi Moshi to find that there was no bluefin tuna on the belt because it had become so scarce it was on the road to extinction.
After much soul searching, and many discussions with Greenpeace and WWF, I embarked on a strategy that would make Moshi Moshi's fish procurement as sustainable as possible. The first thing I did was to take blue fin tuna off the menu. The second thing I did was to go down to Cornwall to speak to the local fishermen.
What I came away with was a deal: Moshi Moshi would buy the fish directly from the boats, offering a higher price than the middlemen, if the fishermen guaranteed to use the most sustainable fishing practices.
The result was a resounding success. Knowing who fishes for Moshi Moshi allows the company to be sure that best practice is being followed. It agrees to buy as much of the daily catch as possible, thereby reducing wastage and by-catch. This method has resulted in the fishermen effectively getting paid more for catching less fish.
But there's another reason why Moshi Moshi’s sustainable fish procurement is such a success: it's by far the best way to get the freshest and best-quality fish in front of Moshi Moshi's customers, who have become accustomed to the wonderful freshness of the Cornish Catch of the Day: whatever the fishermen send up to Moshi Moshi is either simply grilled and served with ponzu sauce, or is fried to make Moshi Moshi's Cornish Catch Sansho Pepper.
The Sansho Pepper Cornish Catch is exactly what Moshi Moshi is all about. It is deep fried so that even the bones of the fish can be eaten. Sustainability means using as much of the fish as possible. Moshi Moshi also makes a point of serving spider crab, a species of crab which usually gets thrown back in the sea because there is no market for it.
For its environmental work, Moshi Moshi was awarded the prestigious Green Apple Award for the Environment in 2005, and the RSPCA Business Award for Animal Welfare in 2007. It's great to have this recognition, but I'm painfully aware that there's still a long way to go to become a truly sustainable company - but I'm working on it!
MD, Moshi Moshi
Caroline has kindly supplied us with two of her favourite Mosh Moshi fish recipes:
Sweet and sour Cornish fish nanbanzuke
|Ingredients (per portion)|
|15g||white fish, 3 slices per portion|
|15g||3 pieces of dried red chilli|
|50g||5 julienne slices of green pepper|
|50ml||5 julienne slices of red pepper |
|10g||red onion (sliced julienne) |
|300ml||higashimaru light soy|
- Place the water, vinegar, mirin and higashimaru soy sauce in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Remove from the heat once boiled.
- Slice the white fish in to 15g – 20g pieces.
- Sprinkle the fish slices in salt.
- Spinkle some cornflour on to a tray and coat the white fish slices in the flour.
- Deep fry the coated fish slices for 3 minutes in the tempura oil.
- Remove the fish from the oil and place the fish on kitchen paper to remove the excess oil.
- Place the fried fish in a plastic container.
- Add the slices of julienne vegetables.
- Pour over the warm (but not boiling) liquid.
- Do not cover the container and leave to stand for 20 minutes.
- Arrange slices of julienne vegetables at the base of a red/black lacquer bowl.
- Arrange 1 slice of fish on top of the julienne vegetables in the red/black lacquer bowl.
- Arrange slices of julienne vegetables on top of the fish.
- Arrange one more slice of fish on top of the vegetables.
- Repeat this once more to use three slices of fish in total.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of the juice around the base of the dish.
- Decorate with chilli slices.
Salt and sansho pepper fried Cornish catch of the day
|1 pinch ||tempura pepper |
- Combine the ingredients for the Megrim sauce. Do not strain the sauce.
- The fish should be filleted cleanly off the bone.
- Deep-fry the bones and rest it on kitchen paper.
- The fillet should be cut into slices, tossed in a tempura flour and sansho pepper mix, deep-fried and left on kitchen paper to drain.
- Spread a large handful of shredded daikon on the plate and place the fish-bone frame.
- Arrange the pieces of the fish in the centre of the fish-bone frame, sprinkle two pinches of sansho pepper over the fish and garnish with two wedges of lime, purple shiso cress and two Chinese chives.
- Serve with a small bowl of the sauce which still has bonito flakes in it.