Fish tales
Magazine

Interview: Bart van Olphen is co-founder of Fish Tales

I love fish. When I lived in Paris in the late 90’s, after another day of hard work in Lucas Cartons’ Michelin star kitchen I would want to get some fish myself. Often I walked to ‘Au Pied de Couchon’ at night, the famous restaurant at Les Halles. Gorgeous fish, crustaceans and shellfish were all displayed, ready to be eaten.

Only a few years later, I quit my job in the hospitality industry to really focus on fish. Buying, selling but most of all preparing fish. But where does this fish come from? The sea of course, but what happens to the fish, right after it has been caught. What effect do fisher, processer and packer have on the final product?

An enormous shock
My, possibly romanticized, vision of a fisherman that arrives at the port daily, to bring his amazing catch ashore fell completely apart. The huge amounts of fish and the way they were treated came as a shock to me.

It is a tough business. A lot of the fish that we consume isn’t from small fishery communities, but comes from ‘factories on the water’; fishery companies that don’t look much further than tomorrow.

Simplicity and pureness
There has to be another way, I thought. I started my travel, looking for fisheries that obtain the best fish with a care for nature.
Countless of fisheries, in Holland as well, do an amazing job. By not catching more fish than is healthy for the existence of the fish, with the right gear in the right season, they contribute to a sustainable future. All these fisheries have something in common: a lifestyle that characterizes simplicity and pureness. With both legs on the ground.

Together with the fisheries
Meeting these wonderful fishery communities inspired me to think further. By consuming fish from these good fisheries we can keep eating fish and leave other species alone. Therefore this sustainably caught fish has to be made accessible and approachable for the consumer, with the most recognition of the fishermen.

Fish is delicious and easy
Preparing fish isn’t hard at all and above all fun to do. That is why I combine my passion for fish and my mission for sustainability in writing cookbooks and making video’s. I hope to inspire a lot of people to work with delicious, sustainable fish.

Fish Tales
With Fish Tales I combine two great passions of mine: good food and bringing sustainably caught fish in a fun way to the people, with the fishermen in the spotlights. It is them who make sure that our children can keep enjoying fish as well!

Image: © David Loftus