The BIM Young Fishmonger 2017 competition aims to recognise and reward fishmongers (35 yrs and under) who demonstrate a high level of expertise and seafood knowledge.
Tara McCarthy, BIM chief executive with previous winners: James Kirwan, East Coast Seafood, Naas, Co. Kildare; Gerard Collier, Fisherman’s Catch, Clogherhead, Co. Louth and current winner George Stephens (centre), The Fish Market, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Photo Paul Sherwood
Inclusion this year of a ‘supermarket seafood counter’ category will ensure that excellence in this specialist field is developed across the entire seafood retail sector, the agency contends.
The competition is a celebration of excellence in seafood, according to chief executive, Tara McCarthy.
“Our young fishmongers have a specialist skill and knowledge that deserves to be recognised. As seafood consumers, our appetite for what is the healthiest protein on the market continues to grow, with sales of €209m last year.”
BIM works directly with fishmongers to provide business monitoring and technical training supports “to continue to raise the standards across the retail sector,” she added.
Eight fishmongers from Leinster (Dublin city and county); Munster and Connaught/Ulster – four independent and four supermarket – will be shortlisted in August to round two which involves in-depth visits and mentoring. The final stages include a skill’s test in which all finalists will prepare fish and shellfish dishes within a time limit.
Now in its fourth year, the competition is extensively tested over three rounds of judging (including anonymous visits to shops) to assess the overall premises, the products and the applicant’s product knowledge and customer service.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.
Prizes include a two-day cookery course at Rick Stein’s cookery school in Padstow, Cornwall; funding and a specially commisssioned trophy. BIM will also provide training in advanced product skills and business mentoring.
Current title holder, George Stephens of The Fish Market in Blanchardstown, said winning the competition has been a really positive development for his business.
“The award increased our profile by attracting new customers to our three stores in Mullingar, Blancardstown and Maynooth. As a result of business and training support from BIM, we have developed new products instore that are proving very popular with new and existing customers. It has and continues to be a real boost for me personally, my wife and business partner Anne and our wider team.”
Nominations for Ireland’s Best Young Fishmonger 2017 must reach BIM by 5pm, April 20, 2016.