********** Yoshinori Ishii Executive chef of Japanese restaurant UMU in London ******************

------------------ 英国の日本料理店 UMU 総料理長 石井義典 のつれづれなる話 ------------

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Demonstration of Ikejime in Padstow and fishing with Chris 冬のCornwallでの活けジメデモンストレーションと漁師

On request from Cornwall Food & Drink, an organisation supporting local small-scale producers, I gathered with up-and-coming chefs from London and Cornwall’s local fishermen to demonstrate Ikejime (a type of fish preserving method) technique.
Padstow, a humble town the event took place in, is known for its fish and beautiful scenery, and despite having to pass by on few occasions previously, I hadn’t had a chance to actually visit and I was thrilled for this opportunity.
Got home from work at almost 2am on Saturday night, took a brief nap before heading out to pick up a car around 8am. By the time I arrived at Padstow, it was past 3.30pm and the partakers had already assembled and gone to see a lobster hatchery. I immediately began preparation at the site’s restaurant for the demonstration commencing at 4.00pm. After a commemorative photo shoot, I showcased the ikejime technique on live turbot I brought from London. 
During the debate session took place after the demonstration, the participants, who create distribution lines in cooperation with fishermen, earnestly discussed possible breakthroughs on how to bring fish back fresh from the shore, additionally and more importantly, how to deliver as fresh to London outlets. Many fish boats here lack fish-preserving tanks (unlike the ones in Japan) and expertise in transporting live fish is almost non-existence; obstacles keep on piling yet I trust that one by one they will be solved, more so when the fishermen will return to the shore frequently in spring. 
The plan to visit a butcher and organic farmhouse the next morning sadly had to be cancelled due to my imperfect condition. Rested up until noon before heading out to Dylan’s house in Helston. We had already scheduled to go on Dylan’s dad Chris’ boat the next day. The misfortune in timings had not permitted Chris and I to go fishing together yet, despite numberless times Dylan had taken me aboard onto several different boats. It was like one of my dearest dream coming true.
On arrival that night, I was welcomed by exceptional quality spider crabs, prepared and steamed by Dylan himself in his atelier. Once I started on the crabs, I could not refrain myself from chowing down, and while Dylan’s wife Mutsuko prepared salad and other accompaniments, I tucked in 2 whole crabs in no time. Spider crab has a distinctive flavour that varies from one to another, and those seen in restaurants’ fish tanks, often lined up by the Mediterranean coast, are far from edible. Being judged and selected by professional eyes like Dylan’s, the crabs were undoubtedly as rich or even richer in “Kanimiso” (crab innards) than those from Japan, and an extra robust wildness hinted in the meat.
I was up and about by 4.00am the next morning and ready to board Lady Hamilton. The bay where the boat is moored does not offer any port facilities, and all equipment first needs to be loaded onto small boat in order to be transferred onto Lady Hamilton, anchored on the shore. Considering the amount of fishing tools, ices, and also captured fish if on the way back, I salute the crew endure the routine every single day.
First, we pulled up the gill net that was set in shoal the night before; only crabs and a few unimpressive numbers of fish had been caught, along with tons of jellyfish that interfere with fishing. According to Chris, jellyfish was not to be found locally before, however similarly to the situation in the coast of the Japan Sea in recent years, upsurge occurred mysteriously. “Could it be related to global warming?”; such thought crossed my mind.
After re-setting the net back into the shoal, we headed to haul the net at a deeper point. The result was indifferently disappointing and only caught a countable number of pollack, haddock, etc. This spot, too, had jellyfish hindering.
Upon returning to the point in the shoal, we once again hauled the net that had been set for about 3 hours. Unexpected from the earlier result, the net was filled with a plenty of fish this time, and diversely coloured fish, such as pollack, haddock, cod, lemon sole, red mullet, streaked gurnard and john dory, have filled the captivity tank. Chris was simply delighted for the fortunate turn of event; that  significantly contradictory result could occur just after 3 hours of laying the net, from the exact point where the overnight set miserably failed previously. However what amazed me more was his nonetheless positive and firm attitude to re-set the net in that precise location, by believing the possible positive outcome based on tide movement as well as calculated time flame and his instinct coming from years of experience. I encounter similar events while I’m out fishing for my hobby, and I reckon having the ability to read and predict the vast nature can equal to the very primary joy of fishing, yet only experience can bring such skill.
Experience, knowledge, and luck that can change the game completely in one turn; for all of these dynamics, fishing can continue to entertain.
I send my heartfelt gratitude to the friendly crews of Chris’ and the family who always gives me warmest welcome.
 Cornwall の小生産者を支援している団体、Cornwall Food & Drinkからの依頼があり、ロンドンの若手有名シェフと地元の漁師を集めて活けジメのデモンストレーションをしてきました。
土曜日に仕事から帰宅したのが夜中の2時前、仮眠をとって8時に車をピックアップに行ったのち、Padstowに到着したのは既に3時半になっており、参加者は皆、既に集合してロブスターハッチェリーの見学に行った後でした。4時からデモンストレーションと聞いていたのでそのまま会場のレストランで用意にかかり、港での記念撮影の後、ロンドンから生かして持ってきたTurbot(石ヒラメ) を使って活けジメのデモンストレーションをしました。   
翌日は近郊にある有機農家と精肉業者を訪ねる予定でしたが、朝起きた時、調子が今一つで私は昼まで休み、HelstonDylanの家に行きました。翌日にはDylanのお父さん、 Chrisのボートに乗せてもらうことに決まっていました。今まで幾多のボートに乗せてもらっていてもいつもタイミングが悪く、Chrisとは今回が初めてで、やっと念願が叶いました。

翌日は朝4時に起き、Lady Hamilton に乗りました。Lady Hamiltonが停泊している入江に港は無く、すべての荷物をまずは小型ボートに乗せて沖に停泊させているボートに積みなおさな
その後、浅場の網を打ち直した後、深場(80m前後)に仕掛けた網を上げましたが、やはりそれほどの収穫はなく、Pollack(タラの仲間), haddock(スケトウダラ)などがぱらぱらと獲れただけでした。またも多くのクラゲに邪魔されます。
 元の浅場のポイントに戻り、3時間ほど前に入れた網を再び上げると今度はたくさんの魚が上がってきました。Pollack, Haddock, Cod(タラ), Lemon sole(カレイの仲間), Red mullet(ひめじ), Streaked gurnard(ホウボウ), John dory(マトウダイ)、大きなサバなど、色とりどりの魚でボックスはいっぱいになりました。一夜仕掛けていた網にほとんど入っていなかったのに同じポイントでもほんの3時間でいっぱいの魚が入ったことにChrisも本当に喜んでいましたが、その可能性を潮の流れや時間で読み取って的確に再度網を仕掛けた彼の経験と勘には驚かされました。そういったことは私の趣味の釣りでも良くあることで、自然を読み解くことそのものが釣りの楽しさであると同時に経験が全てです。経験、知識、そしてそれ以上の運に左右される、だから面白いのが釣り、漁です。