Dev Biswal to showcase sustainable cuttlefish at Hastings Festival
Horrified that local fisherman are discarding unwanted cuttlefish, Dev Biswal, chef patron of The Ambrette @ Rye restaurant – is to give live cooking demos of a specially created recipe throughout the Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival (15th and 16th September) to help boost its popularity. Throughout the weekend, he will encourage visitors to try cuttlefish and less popular types of fish, whose stocks are at healthy levels.
The Michelin-rated chef has created a ‘South Indian style Cuttlefish Kedgeree’ dish. Originating amongst British colonials in India, Kedgeree which was part of the then fashionable Anglo-Indian cuisine, was introduced to the UK as a popular breakfast dish in Victorian times.
“Speaking to local fisherman, it appears there’s very little local demand for cuttlefish, one – who catches them is special pots with no by-catch – exorts them to Italy, where they are prized as a delicacy,” said Biswal, adding, “It’s a great shame as they’re in plentiful supply along this stretch of the English Channel.”
Dev is urging fish lovers to place orders at their local wet fish shops and supermarkets for cuttlefish. He also wants fish mongers to offer copies of his recipe in their shops to take the strain of popular species, such as cod and skate, whose numbers are under pressure.
Cuttlefish’s sweet, delicate flavour lends itself to The Ambrette’s deftly spiced style of fine Indian cuisine, that attracts gastro-tourists from all over the country to Biswal’s two restaurants in Rye and Margate.
Dev will also be selling jars of his marinades for chicken, lamb and fish at the Hasting Seafood & Wines Festival. The fish marinade works particularly well with species such as coley, mackerel, grey mullet and sardine, which are in plentiful supply locally and offer great value.
Despite their name, cuttlefish are not fish, but cephalods, from the same family as squid and octopus.
Copies of the ‘South Indian style Cuttlefish Kedgeree’ recipe can be downloaded from theambrette.co.uk
Details of the festival at: hastings.gov.uk/community_living/2012_events/seafood
The Ambrette Restaurant at Rye, which opened on 1st December, is located in the historic White Vine House, holder of 5 AA stars in the “Restaurant with Rooms” category. It accommodates 14 guests in 5 double rooms (one 4-poster), and a family room (sleeping four). Room rates from £130 to £190 a night including breakfast. The original building was destroyed during one of the many French raids on the town during the 100 Years War. The Elizabethan Dining Room named for its exquisite and unique French oak panelling, which probably cost more than the original building, with each panel individually formed to fit the timber frame. The room is “signed” with a carpenter's mark visible just above the fireplace.
Dev Biswal grew up in Calcutta. He trained at the Dubai Sheraton, before moving to London, aged 26 in 2003 for spells at Mangoes and Eriki. He became a partner in The Indian Princess in Margate in December 2006, becoming patron and rebranding it as The Ambrette in 2010.