Totnes has been selected as the launch pad for a new age fish shop, called Cormacks Seafood. Based in the food hub of Ticklemore Street, this fish shop promises its customers a new seafood experience.
Founder, Aarik Persaud, explains the premise of the business:
‘The Covid-19 crisis completely threw the UK seafood industry. Retailers couldn’t get their hands on fresh seafood, whilst most of our fishing fleet was tied to the docks because there wasn’t a direct supply chain and/or market for their fish or shellfish. It is a mad system, especially considering the quality of seafood that is landed locally. It is a real struggle to find fresh seafood from our coastlines.
We have been running as a seafood product-focused business since 2018. We have always really valued the importance of supporting our local fishing fleet – that’s why we only sell seafood that’s caught locally by small day boats. Fishermen are the backbone of many coastal communities and they treasure their small patch of sea like their lives depend on it because it does! The same can’t always be said for larger vessels that can travel wherever and whenever they want. So, for me, one of the most important things that I can do is to show my local community the abundance of fresh, delicious seasonal seafood that is landed right here in Devon. We need to eat locally and seasonally if we are to ever consider abolishing wasteful and environmentally damaging practices, such as exporting our food thousands of miles and overfishing popular species. I personally think our own seafood is far superior in taste to the most commonly consumed fish and shellfish products, like tuna, salmon, warm water prawns, anyway.’
Aarik’s passion for the seafood industry and strong ethos for the shop may have originally stemmed from his wife, Alison Freeman. Alison, who has a MRes degree in Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, also works in the seafood industry for a fisheries charity that supports fishing livelihoods and champions sustainable fishing practices.
Aarik, on the other hand, has spent his career of over 20 years working as a chef. He has led kitchens across the world, such as Toronto, Sydney, Bali, Hong Kong, and London. In Asia, Aarik owned a series of butcheries, which operated on a nose-to-tail mantra of using the whole animal. Aarik is looking forward to bringing this experience and knowledge to the seafood industry and will be using his culinary experiences to transform the seafood into a range of ready to cook products. ‘There are some amazing parts of a fish which are often discarded, such as the cheeks, ribs, and head. I think the seafood industry does need a shake up. We’ve been eating plain battered white fish for too long. Don’t get me wrong, it is great, but where are the new seafood products?’
Cormacks Seafood started its life a few years back; canning day boat mackerel, marinated in international sauces, such as miso ginger, pastrami spice and puttanesca. Having the shop allows Aarik to build and develop a far more extensive product range. Two of the frozen food products Aarik will be making by hand for the shop are soy and yuzu infused katsu fillets, inspired from his many years of eating Japanese curry in small ‘mom and pop’ restaurants across Asia, as well as Fish’n’Chip fish fingers, first born in one of Aarik’s restaurants in Hong Kong. He also has a salt fridge which will be used to cure the seafood, some of which will end up as frozen ready to eat fillets. He will be using traditional Japanese methods to prepare a range of simple fillets. ‘I’m really excited to get started. Life is about to get very busy.’
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