Thursday, July 31, 2014

31/07/2014: Book Review - ‘The Coastal Chef’ launched

In a world unduly fixated on nutrient-poor processed foods, the rising incidence of serious chronic diseases such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes means it has never been more important for us to make responsible and principled food choices.

  Just recently a unique cookbook, with educational information on the health benefits of habitual consumption of seaweed and algae, was launched at the annual Congress of the International Society for Applied Phycology.

  The book, The Coastal Chef, features close to 50 recipes using 28 different types of seaweed and algae from 20 innovative Australian chefs and magic South Coast Australia scenery. 

  Taking seaweed use beyond the global sushi roll, this book is promoted as ‘a must have for all who want to eat clean, sustainable wholefoods that taste sensational and have maximum health benefits.’

  There is much evidence that dried seaweed was a major staple in the diet of humans back in the 13th century and was especially given to replenish the body after long journeys.  The Australian chefs from the South Coast region worked alongside Mollymook-based marine scientist Dr Pia Winberg, aiming to create a mouth-watering case for the consumption of this innovative and versatile food of the future.

A strong advocate for seaweed’s health benefits, Dr Winberg sourced a selection of seaweed and algae from around the world and gave each participating chef a mystery box to work with.

  Each chef was asked to come up with innovative ways to use the seaweed and algae by creating an entree, main, dessert or even a beverage and document the process for the book.

  Dr Winberg said “Local chefs have made the most of the ingredients they were given. Many of us, when we think of seaweed, immediately think of sushi, but these chefs have created an amazing collection of recipes for those that want to eat clean, sustainable food that tastes great.”

  Pia added. “The book will form one part of the overall strategic vision to establish the Shoalhaven as a global biotechnology hub and leader in algal applications.”

  Editor and project manager Claudine Tinellis said “This is an exciting and innovative project aimed at inspiring people to eat seaweed and algae and to promote the exceptional culinary talent of new and established chefs with links to the Shoalhaven. The whole point was to demonstrate new and innovative ways to use this versatile ingredient in a way that was visually appealing as well as tasty.”

  “Some of the dishes we’ve seen to date have been truly spectacular. We have seen seaweed and algae incorporated into bread, featured as mayonnaise, ice-cream, ganache, pasta, salad and soup as well as a good old Aussie meat pie.”

  “My understanding is that many of the chefs have used seaweed and algae in their food before, however some of the seaweed and algae samples provided were completely new to the chefs and they faced challenges in understanding the unique flavour profiles or molecular characteristics of some of the more unfamiliar species.”

  “There are many amazing ways that we can use this ingredient in a way that is practical and incredibly tasty.”

  Ms Tinellis said seaweed and algae were “foods of the future” with benefits to human health, medicine and Australia’s economy.

  “Australia is beginning to upscale its commercial production of seaweed and algae and is looking to be a leader in algal applications.”
Buy the book HERE. Read more HERE.

The Aquaculturists
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