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Slicing and dicing lionfish – with chefs and hotel managers

Last month I visited Saint Lucia and was delighted to take part in our first Lionfish Workshop for chefs and hotel managers, which was attended by around 20 people. It took place at the Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa and was organised on our behalf by the SLHTA and financed by the St Lucia Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

The practical training session in the kitchens (led by Daniel Medar from the Department of Fisheries) showed participants how to safely handle, process, and fillet a lionfish. All participants had the opportunity to try this themselves with 1-2 lionfish per person. After this, a specialist sushi chef from the Royalton made sushi out of the freshly filleted raw lionfish! Then some of the chefs cooked more fillets in a dish with quinoa and a Mediterranean tomato sauce, which I tried!

The mystery ingredient

The fillets of lionfish that weren’t cooked were put on ice ready to use the next day for the final of the Chefs in Schools Culinary Competition.

This is an annual competition that the SLHTA have been running for around 6 years or so. Groups of students who are studying food and hygiene (usually 15 and 16 year olds) get paired with a top chef from one of the major resorts/restaurants in St Lucia. It leads up to a final ‘cook off’, in which they must cook a signature dish based on local specialities.stlucia

In the final round, the top 3 teams are presented with a basket of mystery ingredients, the main one of which was… lionfish!

This competition really helped draw attention to lionfish as a tasty and safe ingredient.

Find out more about our Lionfish on the Menu project

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