April 2, 2019

Unsustainable Practices get the Chop

WWF SASSI and FEDHASA Cape Come Together to Promote Sustainable Practices.

There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of fish and other marine creatures taken out of the seas in recent decades. Globally, 93% of all fisheries are being over exploited or have already been fully fished.

On Friday 29 March, the regional Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA Cape), in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (WWF-SASSI), challenged members to eliminate unsustainable practices in their kitchens, through a fast-paced cook-off.

The cook-off took place at the Cape Town Hotel School in Granger Bay, and saw 25 chefs showing off their skills to create a dish using sustainable seafood from the SASSI approved list.

The SASSI list categorises seafood species according to a ‘traffic light’ system of red, orange and green.  There’s also an easy-to-use app that allows you to check the sustainability of your seafood choice in real time.

The cook-off was setup as a way to encourage the industry to become more sustainable and creative in how we use seafood, as well as educating consumers about their choices when it comes to purchasing seafood.

“Chefs play a key role in transforming the food and hospitality industries to become more sustainable.  Being sustainable and particularly making informed choices around the seafood they serve not only makes good environmental sense but also good business sense. Chefs are key to driving change, they can create wonderful sustainable and delicious seafood dishes that inspire and create awareness.  WWF-SASSI together with FEDHASA Cape is promoting these responsible practices so that our oceans can provide seafood for many years to come.”
Pavitray Pillay, WWF spokesperson

At the cook-off, chefs were divided into teams led by executive chefs Rudi Liebenberg of the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Jocelyn Myers-Adams, representing the South African Chefs Association, Shane Louw of Monte Rochelle, Judi Fourie of the Victoria and Alfred Hotel, and Lindsay Venn of Tsogo Sun.

Liebenberg led the winning team who created a dish of pan-fried hake, seafood curry, smoked salmon tortellini and a tomato salsa.



Their sophisticated dishes prepared sustainably, from local produce, were judged by WWF-SASSI ambassador Jason Whitehead, The Vineyard hotel executive chef Carl van Rooyen and FEDHASA CAPE Restaurant segment chairperson and celebrity chef Pete Goffe-Wood and Olympic judge, Nadin Pospech.

“Fine dining food doesn’t need to contain fish on the red list and, with a bit of creativity, can showcase the many exceptional fish species found in South African waters. Initiatives like this FEDHASA cook-off is a fantastic way to highlight our local talent, as well as the sustainable practices that should be embraced in kitchens across the Western Cape.”
Carl van Rooyen, The Vineyard hotel executive chef

FEDHASA Cape chairperson Jeff Rosenberg says encouraging sustainable practices in the hospitality industry is at the heart of the association’s mandate.

“The Western Cape hospitality industry is embracing sustainability and responsible tourism through a range of practices. The cook-off event is just one way to show that we are contributing towards protecting the Western Cape’s natural beauty and resources, and reducing our impact on the natural environment.”

Ingredients for the event were sponsored by Checkers Food Services, with kitchen appliances supplied by Banks Kitchen Shop and donated to the Mitchell’s Plain School of Skills.

For more information on the SASSI list, or to download the app, you can visit wwfsassi.co.za.