Despite being the largest producer of farmed salmon, Norway is still miles away in finding swimmingly creative ways of serving salmon
Geir Skeie of Pink Fish 'Salmon has allowed us to change the market for the fast food business'
Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 15:00 (GMT + 9)
Geir Skeie and his project Pink Fish, a chain of establishments of "good food that is served quickly", - as he likes to define it - has been another of the protagonists of Encuentro de los Mares. From Norway, Geir receives the audience to explain how his project and future plans came about.
The speed at which our day-to-day is established means that what we are looking for the most at present are fast foods where we have to invest as little time as possible before resuming our workday.
So thought Geir Skeie, chef and co-founder of Pink Fish, a restaurant chain that offers healthy cuisine - based on fish, salmon, to be more specific - prepared on the spot and with fast service. In short, the idea of fast food in healthy mode.
Xavier Agulló, gastronomic journalist, was in charge of doing the honors and presentations. “Geir won the European Bocuse d'Or one year and the world one the following year. Furthermore, I dare to affirm that it has created a concept of restoration that has been a true revolution ”, this is how the journalist gave way to the new guest.
Geir explained the reasons that led him to consider “a new way of understanding food when you are in a hurry” and explained that he looked in his environment, Norway, to find a product that met his expectations: healthy, accessible, easy to find in everyone, quick to cook and sustainable. How could it be otherwise, this product was salmon.
All the dishes that are served in Pink Fish are made to the moment and in the style that the client wishes, which also eliminates waste. "Everything is used," said Skeie. In addition to avoiding waste, they also apply sustainability to packaging "there are no plastics, everything is compostable and is made with sugar cane and starch." For him and for his partners, the issue of plastics is important. "When we started seeing them in the oceans, we wondered how we could help and started using compostable or recyclable packaging."
To raise Pink Fish, it teamed up with several partners who have worked in different sectors. In fact, shortly after advancing their project, they realized that they needed a person familiar with the concept of Starbucks or McDonald’s and that was how they completed the team. No fringe is loose in this chain of healthy restaurants.
Their initiative has been so well received - they opened in 2017 - that soon they opened more stores, not only in Norway, but also abroad. "We wanted to change the market within the fast food business. And we wanted to get a model that would allow us to do an international implementation. We were looking to get into places where there would be an audience. The plan is to grow abroad, especially in Asia, and in North America; in places where the economy is doing well. ” One of the first countries to open outside its borders was Singapore.
The idea for Pink Fish is, Geir stresses, that people eat more fish. “We had sushi as a reference, but we wanted to go further, to present the fish in a different way. We would like younger generations to eat more fish and enjoy it more because, although they say they like it, they find it less accessible. We go to that millennial or generation Z public. ” And he adds “it also seems to us a good idea that people recreate the dishes at home because this way they substitute chicken for salmon. It is positive for everyone, for them, for us and for the planet. ”
Business models where sushi is in high demand or where casual food is practiced were also examples.
In order for Pink Fish to be successful, they also analyzed the possible problems: quality, consistency in that quality, obtaining the product in the necessary quantity and in all the places where they wanted to open, the way of preparing it and checking that the entire professional chain worked. Another aspect that they had to pay attention to is digitization and brand image. "Customers want the brands to be transparent and authentic." And he explains “clients are concerned about the world we live in and how we will leave it. You have to be an authentic brand. We cannot tell the world that we do this and that, and then not do it, because the client pays a lot attention. If you don't use plastic, don't use it because, exactly, the client is going to pay attention to this ”.
As for the cost, Skeie is clear "the salmon is competitively priced and comparable to beef burgers." In addition, its traceability is perfect since it can be done from "the roe to the plankton, it is almost unique". Another factor is that of taste. "Salmon works very well with all flavors, where there is chicken, you can put salmon," says the chef. In fact, he explains that wherever there is a Pink Fish there is an adaptation to the flavors, styles and tastes of the place.
The issue of sustainability and nutrition is also relevant, “fish is the one with the best animal protein. And very little water is used for its production. If we give it 1 kg of salmon, it grows 1 kg, so it's not like a cow. Veal is not comparable to fish. The chicken is a little closer to the salmon but you have to give it twice as much feed and the consumption of water is also different ”. For Geir, the issue of water is increasingly important, "less consumption is needed to raise a salmon than for other animals." Another factor in which they have repaired is the waste of the product “Discard is essential. Sometimes the whole salmon is shipped and the head, bones and skin are not used, so we ship the exact product. We take the fresh salmon, we make the hamburgers that we want in the exact measure and then we freeze it at a certain temperature to maintain consistency and quality. Once made, we send it in a container and the impact on nature is less”.
In the future they plan to work with other species such as algae. "We have also started with mussels and products from the coast but we have to make sure that everything is sustainable and certified".
Geir Skeie has been one of the invited speakers at the Meeting of the Seas, which is the only congress in the world that links gastronomy with science and the fishing sector, with the aim of debating and deepening the defense of the culture of the sea. and to demand urgent sustainable measures to face an optimal recovery of the health of our oceans.
The II Meeting of the Seas can be followed in Spanish and English from the page encuentrodelosmares.com, where only prior free registration is required during the days 13, 14, 15 July 2020