Plymouth prepares to cook up a storm!

Plymouth Seafood Festival launched on Wedesday (16 August) at the National Marine Aquarium.

The launch offered partners and businesses a taster of what is to follow in September, with a morning of fascinating talks and demonstrations.

The Plymouth Seafood Festival, organised by the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, takes place on Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 September, and will be bringing the Barbican and Sutton Harbour alive with a celebration of locally sourced and sustainably caught, high quality seafood.

Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture said: “Plymouth City Council are delighted to be supporting the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership by delivering a spectacular weekend, celebrating our fantastic locally and sustainably caught seafood.

“It is great to see this event growing each year, and now supporting the wider marine sector as well as our fishing industry. It is very fitting, being Britain’s Ocean City that we recognise and celebrate this important sector”.

The Festival will be offering visitors a weekend full of delicious dishes for all the family to enjoy as well as hands-on activities, including a children’s activity trail, cookery fun workshops where they can touch and taste local produce, as well as fascinating demonstrations and competitions.

PWP’s Waterfront Manager and Chief Executive, Sarah Gibson, said: “I’m really excited about this year’s Plymouth Seafood Festival. It looks to be the biggest yet as it celebrates Britain’s Ocean City’s sustainable seafood offer. Plymouth certainly has much to shout about when it comes to the local fishing industry as ours was the first city in the world to be awarded the Fish2Fork Blue Fish status for its commitment to sourcing sustainable fish.

“And the Plymouth Fish Market was the largest fresh fish market in England in 2015, by landed weight. Plymouth Fisheries will be opening their doors for visitors during the weekend.

“With so much on offer it’s no surprise that we have such a fantastic variety of seafood restaurants across the Waterfront and available to enjoy year-round. The festival is a great celebration of our local fishing industry and our Waterfront businesses in a weekend of family-fun.”

Well known regional chefs from some of the best restaurants in the South West, will be showing off their culinary skills in the special Cookery Theatre. Throughout the weekend visitors can sample the delights of everything from lobster to whelk, as well as learning some new cooking techniques, such as picking crab. Join in the fish auction of the day’s freshly caught catch; all contributions support the Fisherman’s Mission charity.

Top local chef, Jacques Marchal, said: “When I was asked six years ago to help organise a Seafood Festival I was happy and excited to get involved. Moving on to the present this year, we will have lots of activities for the children, tasty morsels for the parents and a great weekend in store. See you there!”

You will be spoilt for choice with the huge selection of delicious food stalls to enjoy, and the children will love the crabbing competition along the harbour, by the Boathouse Café. CATERed will be entertaining the children with hands-on cookery fun and activities, where they can learn about local produce through touch and taste. The National Marine Aquarium will be producing a fun trail with activities for the children to complete throughout their visit, with the opportunity to win some great prizes.

We are looking forward to welcoming the festival’s official resident artist, Debby Mason, who will have a selection of her beautiful work on display.

New for this year is the second demonstration area at Quay Square, where you can watch demonstrations, join in Q&A sessions, learn about what fish are in season from our industry partners Plymouth Trawler Agents. And, more importantly, where to purchase the freshest, locally caught seafood. Climb on-board the fishing trawlers, supplied by Interfish, and chat to the local fisherman about their fascinating and sometimes forbidding experiences out on the water.

We are excited to see the return of the fantastic IMechE Cardboard Boat Race, which will be on Commercial Wharf on Saturday 16 September. Build a boat out of nothing but a few bits of cardboard and some sticky tape, and sail it around a course in Plymouth harbour. The winner is the last one to sink!

Other highlights include the street food area on West Pier and on Sunday 17 September celebrity chef Mitch Tonks will be hosting a Crab Festival at his premium seafood restaurant Rockfish. With live music, entertainment, a stand for pots of crab cocktail, fresh crabmeat to buy and take home and of course a special menu featuring this great local shellfish.

Mitch Tonks said, “Plymouth is the only city in the UK with a fish market right at its heart. In fact it’s the only fishing city right on the coast at the centre of England’s Seafood Coast, with the neighbouring ports of Newlyn and Brixham either side. And so, it’s very fitting that seafood should be celebrated here!”

The Sutton Harbour Ferry will be running from West Pier, during the Plymouth Seafood Festival weekend. It runs every quarter to and quarter past the hour from West Pier. It starts at 09:30 to 18:45. The price is £1 for a single trip and £1.50 for a return. Under 5’s go free.

Plymouth Seafood Festival is delivered by Plymouth City Council, and is very grateful to its sponsors, Salcombe Gin, and its partners, including: Sutton Harbour Holdings, Plymouth Fisheries, Plymouth Trawler Agents, Interfish, National Marine Aquarium and Adrian Bartlett and Jacques Marchal who offer their support to make the event such a great success.

For more information on the Plymouth Seafood Festival, visit: visitplymouth.co.uk