Seafood Seasonal update - March 2018

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd March 2018


CLICK HERE If you would like a copy of the Seafood Seasonal Guide for your kitchen or help on fishing methods, sustainability or advice on sourcing Scottish seafood for your restaurant, get in touch: [email protected], 0131 557 9344.

Trending This Month: Simplifying Presentation – Maximising Flavour

Langoustine   with tongs low res
Scottish langoustine

Jamie Mackinnon’s promising career started early. While at Perth College he was noticed by Tom Kitchin, and invited to work at his Michelin-starred restaurant in Leith when he left college. Jamie went on to work with David Aspin at Linthwaite House Hotel in the Lake District, Aspin was head chef at Paul Heathcote's Longridge Restaurant in Preston, Lancashire, when it was awarded a Michelin star.

Both moved to St Andrews last March to take over the kitchen at the striking glass-cubed Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews – a decision that heralded huge achievements for Jamie, who in 2017 was crowned Scotland’s Young Chef of the Year by both the CIS and ScotHot, two of the biggest gongs in the Scottish culinary world.

Natural cooking and an emphasis on flavour are the current focus in the Seafood Ristorante kitchen, where they are working on cutting back the number of elements on the plate.

“For a few years it went crazy with four different types of carrot and three ways with lamb,” he says. “But that’s over. We’re currently working on how to simplify the presentation while maximising flavour.” This includes making the most of every ingredient, respecting the product and reducing food waste.

Meet The Next Generation – Keeping it in the Family

At 25, Stuart Thomson is already experienced in his field. He has worked at his family’s JK Thomson fish merchant business in Musselburgh for over seven years since leaving school.

Fight Against Seafood Waste

Jamie MacKinnon (2) low res

Sous-Chef Jamie MacKinnon on Seafood Ristorante’s fight against seafood waste

“The sheer volume of shellfish we handle is pretty extreme. In summer months, we go through 200 local lobster a week, 45kg of langoustines, and around 15kg of clams and cockles” says MacKinnon.

Which means a lot of shells. What do they do with them? “Very few go in the bin,” he says. “They get blitzed and go into bisques and sauces, to give them body.

“Lobster shells are too hard to do that with, so we make a fabulous rich stock with them which we reduce right down to one litre from 50 litres, getting every drop of flavour out.

“We also use lobster corals which are greeny-brown when raw, but turn a beautiful orange colour when cooked. We use all that for ravioli or lobster mousse.”

“I started on the factory floor and in various departments before getting my current job as a trader, which I absolutely love,” he says. “Seeing the fish all the way through the process from markets to the end customer is one of the most enjoyable parts of the role.

JK Thomson Family low res

Keeping it in the Family, JK Thomson team:

Stuart Thomson with his father and uncles

“Working in different departments first was essential for my current job because I know the business from the ground up.”  

His very first job at JKT while still at school was packing smoked fish.

Harry Clarke   JK Thomson

Harry Clarke, JK Thomson, showcases freshly

filleted premium Scottish haddock

Haddock and salmon are the main species, handled by his uncles. Stuart buys and sells a variety of mixed fish, speaking to buyers at the Scottish fish markets at Peterhead, Shetland, Scrabster, Kinlochbervie, and others. His customers are mainly retailers or wholesalers who sell on to restaurants, hotels, fish and chip shops, schools and hospitals.

His day begins at 6.30am to catch the opening of the markets. “Negotiating on the phone is good fun, but I have to keep an eye on trends and spikes in demand so I know what is a good price. You have to judge that on a case by case basis.” With competition within the industry so keen, he strives hard to get the fairest price possible.

Stuart is not the only third-generation member of the family to join his grandfather James King Thomson’s firm, where his father and two uncles already work. His two brothers, two cousins and a cousin’s husband have also joined, ranging in age from 19 to 28.

In this new generation’s capable hands, the company aims to continue its growth. They will develop export sales, and explore the opportunity of selling JKT branded pre-packed fish in shops and supermarkets.

Article written by Cate Devine, Scottish based food writer @CateDvineWriter (

Species in Season

Haddock Seafood Species Descriptor Graphic low res

Langoustine Seafood Species Descriptor Graphic low res

Pollack Seafood Species Descriptor Graphic low res

Sprat Seafood Species Descriptor Graphic low res

>>> Take a look at what else is available from Scotland here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd March 2018

Seafood Seasonal update - March 2018