Last month, the passionate team members who are enrolled in our Food & Beverage Academy took to the sea off Brighton's beautiful coast to learn more about the process and benefits of sourcing local seafood and try their hand at fishing.
With some of the best fresh, local seafood being used by our kitchen team to create many of the spectacular seasonal dishes in our restaurant, this was a fantastic opportunity for our academy members to experience the sourcing process for themselves and further their understanding with the help of our Executive Chef, Alan White.
If you read part 1 of our new blog series, you will know that our food and beverage academy offers our team members 9 months of unique training sessions and behind the scenes experiences designed to help them in their personal development and give them the skills and expert knowledge to provide exceptional foodie experiences for our guests here at The Grand Brighton.
Here's part 2, written by lovely Zoe from our team in GB1 Restaurant, who has been working with us as a Food & Beverage Attendant for nearly a year and a half. This month, Zoe tells us all about their experience aboard the Yellowfin with our local supplier MCB Seafood, where they learnt about the role of local fishermen in Sussex and the journey of our fresh seafood from shore to plate.
"It was an early start and I was eager to get out onto the sea and experience the day ahead learning more about where the different fish we use in GB1 come from and have a go at fishing myself!
"I've always been told that good things come to those who wait and that seems like a fitting caption for the day. I waited for the Yellowfin to take us far, far out to sea and boy did I wait for a fish to take a fancy to the squid that I had carefully selected to hook onto the end of my rod!
"I quickly realised that successful fishing is a skill that requires patience, but also knowledge to help select the lure, the bait, and the position of the boat.
"Mackerel was the main catch of the day. Mackerel is one of Sussex’s more striking fish, with it's slick silver body and unmistakeable blue-green striping along the top. They are common along the Sussex coast throughout late spring and summer before migrating to warmer waters. In order to catch a mackerel you should use a feathered lure at the end of your rod which has several hooks along the line allowing you to catch a few fish at a time. You bounce this up and down, releasing and winding up your rod whilst praying to Poseidon that you'll be lucky enough get a bite or two this time.
"Although plenty of Mackerel were caught by the team throughout the morning, my (eventual) catch was a different fish - a Pout Whiting, which is part of the Cod family, and can be used to make deliciously light goujons. Of course, I don’t have a photo of my fish... just one of me doing an impression of said fish.
"If you want to catch a Pout Whiting like I did then you will need to get yourself some fairly small tasty bait and let your line drop deep into the sea with a heavy weight attached to it and prepare to wait. When fishing, you must always make sure that you keep your thumb on your spool otherwise you may end up in a bit of a tangle. Literally.
"Not everyone had to wait so long for their fish, including Alan White, AKA the fish whisperer! Perhaps he was a mackerel in a former life or perhaps he prepared the bait himself… I wouldn’t be surprised if Mackerel swim from all over the world for a taste of this chefs specially prepared bait. They practically threw themselves at him.
"After some practice and some helpful tips from the pros, other members of the team had a lot of success too - they looked just as at home wielding their fishing rods at sea as they does welcoming guests to dine in GB1.
"Positioning seemed to be the key to a successful fishing experience as we would often get swept along by the tide and it was only after our third try of moving the boat that we seemed to strike lucky as everyone (even me!) were getting bites.
"We had such a great day being out on the water, learning something new and enjoying the rolling waves of the sea. I learnt so much about the seasonal fish available along the coast near Brighton and how all the amazing seafood we use in the restaurant is sourced from skilled local fishermen. I returned home with new skills, a lot of knowledge, and twelve of the freshest whole mackerel you could imagine.
Watch this space for more experiences shared by our Food and Beverage Academy team, and to try the delicious ingredients for yourself, book a table at GB1 here.