Sanjay and the Sardine

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Cornish based chef Sanjay Kumar goes on a cooking mission to Italy to save the Cornish sardine.

The pilchard and its young offspring the sardine used to be the basis of a thriving fishing and processing industry in Cornwall. In the late 19th century nearly 20 thousand tonnes of sardine was caught, salted, packed and sent to northern Italy where it was highly prized.

By the end of the 20th century the fish had fallen out of favour. Supplies of the fish were still abundant but consumers had started to switch to more aspirational fish like cod and salmon. Sardines being landed fell below 10 tonnes. Fisherman gave up the profession, boats were destroyed and processing plants closed.

Now with concerns over global stocks, one solution is for more of us to switch to "poorer" more abundant fish species like the sardine and pilchard.

Chef Sanjay Kumar, born in Calcutta and now based in Cornwall, wants to help make that happen. He moved to the county five years ago, fell in love with Cornish food and its fishing traditions.

In May Sanjay travelled to a bi-annual event held in Italy called Slow Fish. It brings together fishermen, chefs, policy experts and fish scientists, all keen to promote small scale, traditional and sustainable forms of fishing. His mission was to use the event to find new ideas to help revive Cornish fishing tradition.

As well as cooking a traditional Italian sardine dish, meeting fellow campaigning chefs, Sanjay also gets to interview the European Union's Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki. Find out how Sanjay's trip can make a difference to how we all think about fish.

Producer: Dan Saladino.

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25 minutes

Last on

Mon 20 Jun 2011 16:00

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