Solely being a fish market demands a certain amount of specialized knowledge that goes along with dealing with fish. And with that comes the ability to educate those who come into our store. We like to educate everyone who comes in here. We don’t just hire cooks, but we hire people who are engaging and passionate about fish. We supply all the staff with the training and information they need to help the consumer to make an educated choice. From sustainable fishing to cooking, we want to help our clients make the right decisions and learn something new. I’m not going to lie, not all of us are trained Chefs and certainly none of us are marine biologists, but we are responsible in conducting this knowledge from the source to the consumer. And I think that’s not only what makes a store like ours so important, but it’s also what I love to be a part of. I, or my staff, will regularly sit and talk to customers for 20 minutes if we have the time, just to let them learn more about a product, what is happening to certain marine ecosystems, and why we don’t carry certain products.
Not everyone fully grasps the value of food, I believe this is mostly because there is such great distance both physically and psychologically, between the production of food and its consumption. There is unrealistic view of how food is produced, the supply chain and most importantly the labour that is involved in feeding a city of 3 million people. People want artisan quality for box store prices, and that just doesn’t make sense. Our farmers and fishermen put a lot of work into what they do, and having talked to a lot of them, these guys don’t make a lot of money. And I think that one of the ways to overcome the lack of understanding out there is for shops like ours, that in most cases bridge the gap between producer and customer, to educate people about the why’s and how’s of food.
David Illiatovitch-Owen - Co-owner of De La Mer