“Being a fisherman for over 40 years, and having been born and bred on the north east coast, I have spent all of my life surrounded by fish. I never tire of eating it, cooking it and trying new varieties.
However, what still comes as a surprise to me, and I may be biased here, is the number of people who say they don’t like fish and seafood and are too scared or don’t know how to cook it.
Now I completely understand and respect those who have actually tried something and then tell me they don’t like it. But it still makes me laugh with the number of people I speak to who say they don’t like something even though they haven’t actually eaten it.
So I’ve set myself a challenge. A mission even. I want to change people’s perceptions and show them that fish is probably the simplest thing to cook and get right.
Over forty years at sea has taught me a lot and equipped me with the knowledge and skills to launch a new business venture in 2015 called Skipper’s Choice, an online fishbox service. However, what I feel makes Skipper’s Choice different from any other fishbox scheme is my experience and hands-on approach. Every piece of fish, from mackerel and salmon to langoustine and prawns, is chosen by me and my fantastic team who I have braved many a storm with aboard the Amity II. For me, it’s about knowing exactly where my fish and seafood comes from – provenance is crucial.
The seeds of Skipper’s Choice were first sown when I first began selling langoustine direct to local hotels in Aberdeenshire. From there I began exploring the idea of broadening this production to supply a wider range of freshly-caught Scottish seafood through an online shop. So, it was back to college for me to learn about running an online business – something which was crucial to equip me with the necessary skills. It was a world away from my days at sea!
Some of the Skipper’s Choice selection is harvested by my own trawler and the rest is sourced from fellow skippers – helping me to source a diverse range of seafood and enhancing important relationships with my fellow fishermen. These are some of the most skilled fishermen in Europe who share the same vision.
Being based in Peterhead gives Skipper’s Choice a significant advantage over other similar businesses. The quality of the catch landed here is not only consistently high but the onshore processing facilities are second to none. Partners of mine can call on five generations of processing, ensuring that every piece of seafood is selected and prepared by real experts.
Each Skipper’s Choice fish box represents years of experience and a true understanding of fishing and seafood. The patterns, the seasons, and the species that can be harvested sustainably and shared in a chain of custody you can follow direct from sea to plate and from shore to door.
This year I am doing the rounds and visiting various shows and events across the UK to promote, not just Skipper’s Choice, but my whole ethos that fish is not scary or difficult to cook. Something as simple as beer-battered haddock with chunky chips makes for a fantastic dinner that will fill you up and is healthy. The options are endless.
I know not everyone will take me on here but for those of you who are adventurous and fancy trying something a bit different with the weeknight meals, check out my website and see for yourself.”