New Zealand seafood showcased for top Chinese chefs

Some of China’s top chefs visited New Zealand late last year to experience the best of our seafood.

They were winners of one of China's leading culinary competitions, Global Gourmet Chef Par Excellence - of which Sealord was a sponsor- with the prize being a trip to New Zealand to experience for themselves the country's quality produce that sets it on the map as one of the world's best delicatessens. 

“There's a population of 1.4 billion people in China, a country where people really appreciate seafood, and they're just starting to learn about the quality and different species that New Zealand can offer," says Sealord's General Manager of Hoki Sales Mark de Lautour.

As well as visiting vineyards and Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, the chefs learnt about Sealord's fish and facilities, including a factory tour at the firm's Nelson base. 

Philippe Bruneau, Director of Cuisine at 'The W' in Guangzhou said he was impressed during his tour of Sealord's Nelson site.

"I think Sealord is a fantastic company in terms of species and sustainability, as well as hygiene," he said. "The standard was pretty amazing and I have a lot of respect for this company. It was extremely clean and organised and I was very amazed by the productivity they have and how fast they fillet fish - just ten seconds for a giant hoki, which I think was really impressive.

"I would definitely look to use them in a 5-star hotel if they are going to supply in Guangzhou. We have several restaurants, from Japanese to Chinese and international."

The visiting chefs spent the day creating dishes at a high profile Nelson restaurant using a number of species supplied by Sealord and AFL.

Ling, hoki, alfonsino, orange roughy, dory and snapper were among those with which the chefs worked to create masterpieces - fusions of western and eastern cuisine.

"It's a great honour for us to be able to bring these top chefs to New Zealand," says Sealord's General Manager of Fishing, Doug Paulin. "China is a very important new market for us. By engaging these chefs in an opportunity to come to New Zealand, be in our environment and look at our fish as being a little bit different and a little bit special, means they will be great ambassadors for our business and our species when they go back to China.

"We'll continue to work with these chefs in creating recipes, and to be able to go to the market with these will give us a huge amount of kudos,” Paulin says.

AFL was also visited by one of the Chinese chefs. AFL Chief Executive Carl Carrington had already met one of them in Beijing in November as part of a trade delegation to China and Hong Kong led by Minister for Maori Development, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell

“This visit was a chance to introduce him to other species of fish caught in New Zealand that are not currently exported to China, and provided the opportunity to share the unique story of Aotearoa Fisheries with him,” says Carrington.

“When we last met (in Beijing) our principles of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga really resonated with him, and he shared our values of looking after our environment and fish stocks to ensure there is plenty for generations to come.”

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Director of Maori Customers Tina Wilson, says it is important for exporters to get influencers such as the visiting chefs to New Zealand to see how we produce our seafood.

“China is a key market for the future for different types of species from New Zealand, as well as paua and oyster, and as some of the chefs specialise in western cuisine we hope they will use some of our products in their cooking and showcase it in their country,” she says.


Watch the chefs in action



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