Sustainability in the ethos of how chefs are trained has been a core value at the heart of culinary education at the ICA from the very beginning. Long before sustainability became the buzzword it is today, the ICA has been implementing a holistic approach to chef training – both theoretically and in the training kitchens on campus. Students are equipped with an in-depth understanding of sustainable culinary practices in all aspects of the culinary arts and are mentored by industry professionals during their experiential training blocks that uphold and maintain similar outlooks.
Excitingly, the world is steadily moving towards providing culinary industry professionals more sustainable resource options that align with conservation practices and empowering previously marginalised small scale crop growers, farmers and fishers. One such organization is Abalobi – aptly meaning “someone who fishes” in isiXhosa – a South African-based, global social enterprise seeking to elevate small-scale fishing communities through fisher-owned data and the joint development of Technology For Good.
Abalobi brand ambassador and former celebrated ICA industry partner, Margot Janse, recently joined the Abalobi team in presenting its revolutionary model to all ICA students and lecturers.
Abalobi is rethinking the way we eat fish.
Fish With A Story is a fully traceable, premium quality, local seafood harvested responsibly by small-scale fishermen and -women, using low-impact fishing methods. This seafood is supplied directly to consumers via a fair and transparent digital marketplace and traceability technology. By supporting Fish With A Story – via what is globally termed a Restaurant- or Community-Supported Fishery – consumers contribute to the empowerment of coastal communities and participate in an ever-growing movement to rethink and develop a more sustainable and ethical food system.
As a number of ICA students were already exposed to Abalobi as a supplier to the restaurant kitchens where they were placed during their industry placements, it confirmed the fact that ICA preferably partners with forward-thinking chef mentors. At the same time, this is also the way ICA purchases seafood for on-campus practical classes, thus giving our students the necessary exposure and experience long before entering the workplace as qualified chefs where they can continue to model the same ethical customs going forward. For many students, the presentation was a first-time encounter with such an innovative example of cutting-edge buying of seafood for the end-user, which left them inspired to implement the same valuable principles throughout their culinary journey.
Not only is this incredible service available to the culinary industry. Even home cooks can make use of the wonderful opportunity privately, to support the “hook to cook” model and help be the change you want to see in the world. When purchasing your seafood through Abalobi, you will receive a QR code that traces your exact produce back to the waters where it was caught, the boat and the fisher(s) – in person! – that did the catching! This also applies to restaurants, so that when you dine out, you can trace the origin of the fish on your plate, just like the one ICA recently received with a purchase of Cape Bream for students to master the technique of filleting a round fish during their practical assessment.