Though an acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author, Mitch Tonks, most succinctly summed up, has a love of seafood and an insatiable desire to share that passion with others. His prestigious restaurants are International and National multi-award winning. His book ‘Fresh’ scooped ‘Best Fish Book’ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Mitch’s desire for sharing wonderful food is in evidence across all the restaurants in his group, from his flagship Seahorse to Rockfishes in Dartmouth, Torquay, Plymouth and Brixham, and the Spiny Lobster in Bristol. Mitch is committed to constantly giving back to the community, having embarked on an academy scheme to train new chefs in partnership with South Devon College. On matters of UK fishing, sustainability and supply, his is arguably one of the most erudite, passionate and credible voices out there.
My connection with seafood
I am lucky to have spent time as a fishmonger and chef and have access to some great people across the industry and strongly believe that our policies in my business are the right ones. I live in Brixham and talk it all day long with the guys out on the front line. The South West fisheries are known to be well managed and controlled, most of my fish is from there. When I look out my window and see the tiny fleet that makes up England’s biggest port it’s hard to imagine there are enough boats and days at sea to regress stocks, in fact the news about our fishery is positive down here.
Why sustainability is important to me
When I was first in the fish business I didn’t ever hear the word sustainability, now thanks to some of the great campaigning work that has been done it’s become a topic deeply rooted in our behaviour and thinking. For us in the industry we have access to good opinion and knowledge, but for the consumer, the ones who really matter, it’s a different story. The amount of confused messaging must be as damaging as it is guiding. Don’t eat this and don’t eat that then pick up another book or read another blog and it’s ok. .People like the MCS and the MSC and Seafood Choices work hard with restaurants, supply chains and consumers to try and get communication right and clear. Which is why in my business I work alongside these organizations and challenge where I think I should. Communication is so important so that all those ultimately eating seafood can make proper informed choices.