Magpie’s head chef takes fish to Billingsgate

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Whitby chef and Whitby Gazette recipe columnist Paul Gildory has joined forces with the nation’s fishermen and Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace to encourage more people to try new types of home caught fish.

This following the release of new scientific research that shows the stocks of many commercial fish species have reached the ‘gold standard’ of sustainability.

Mr Gildroy, head chef at the Magpie on Pier Road, will be involved in the initiative, dubbed Deck to Dinner. This is being run by the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) following new research, which has revealed that despite two thirds of us now eating fish once a week and supermarkets reporting increases in wet fish sales, the majority of us (90%) are only comfortable cooking familiar fish that is pre-prepared.

Deck to Dinner will see Wallace join forces with fishermen and a team of nationally recognised, award-winning chefs including Mr Gildroy to create a series of ‘easy to cook’ recipes for what the NFFO calls its Magnificent Seven of Sustainable Seafood – crab, megrim, coley, mackerel, hake, gurnard and plaice.

All chefs will be filmed creating their recipes at an event in the heart of London’s Billingsgate Market – Europe’s largest fish market.

Mr Gildroy will be joining other high profile chefs in London for the afternoon of culinary creation based around sustainable seafood, where he will focus on a recipe for coley.

With recipes including Mr Gildroy’s available free from, the initiative is designed to show more unusual species can be just as easy to cook as the ‘big five’ - salmon, cod, haddock, tuna and prawns – which according to the latest data now command over 70 per cent of all UK seafood sales – a percentage increasing year on year.

According to the NFFO, while some of the big ‘seafood staples’ including cod and haddock have seen a dramatic resurgence in sustainability over recent years, this success is paralleled by many other tasty and highly sustainable species that rarely grace the tables of home diners, from megrim to mackerel and crab to coley.

Statistics released last month by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) show there has been a ‘dramatic reduction in fishing pressure’ across the North Atlantic.

l Try one of Paul’s recipes for yourself – see his weekly column on this page.