Cayman’s invasive predator the lionfish will soon be getting some big-time exposure.
Visiting culinary celebrity Jose Andreas, here for Cayman Cookout, said as a chef he loves working with the light, buttery meat, but as a diver it’s all about the thrill of the hunt.
“You still see that fish that is so beautiful is doing so much harm to the environment, it’s kind of very sad,” said Celebrity Chef Jose Andreas said he’s thrilled to get involved in the war against an invasive predator.
“As a scuba diver, I’m very happy to be enjoying the water and protecting the reef. As a chef, it’s great to tell the story that here you have a local fish that you can actually catch, that is ok to catch many, and that they can be part of the new traditions of many islands around the Caribbean, in this case Cayman,” said Chef Jose.
While here for Cayman Cokout, Chef Jose strapped on a tank and went for the kill, the long-spined vermin didn’t stand a chance.
“I was ready, we got the right one, the right size, and the right position, and I told myself ‘Jose you have to do it,’ and I did it,” said Chef Jose.
“He took our advice, he took the instruction really well, and that first shot, right in the head, and now he’s on board to really spearhead on his end the lionfish cause,” said Chef Thomas Tennant of the Brasserie.
Through his food, he has introduced hundreds in Cayman to the palate pleasing lionfish, but he says Chef Jose can take the lionfish to a whole new audience.
“He has a very large personality, and his reach far as his social media reach and where he’d been with the celebrity status in the chef world, he can really reach an audience that is much larger than me and Jason can ever achieve,” said Chef Tennant.
“We didn’t have a lot of takers in the beginning, since then we’ve created a successful demand for the flesh of the fish and it’s served in I believe 21 restaurants here in the Cayman Islands and it’s becoming more of a popular dish around the world,” said Jason Washington of CULL (Cayman United Lionfish League) and Ambassador Divers.
He told Cayman 27 lionfish is catching on, and when it tastes this good. The only question is what will Chef Jose do with it?
“Maybe I’ll make a paella?” mused Chef Jose.
You can look for locally culled lionfish this week at Cayman Cookout, and year-round in restaurants all across the island.
Remember, to beat them, we’ve got to eat them.