A single entry among thousands from over one hundred and seventy countries around the world has earned Dominica a place in the top five Best Fish and Seafood cookbooks in the world.
According to Gourmand International, a world-renowned food connoisseur, “It is a success just to reach this level of the competition. In the first step, the qualifying round within a country, some publish over 1000 cookbook titles every year, such as the U.S., France or China. In the second round fifty per cent of the countries [are] eliminated.”
‘53 Recipes of Diamondback Squid’ was submitted by the Dominica Fisheries Division.
GIS News met with contributing chef, Norman Norris who explained that the Division embarked on a programme to explore and promote the Diamondback squid as part of encouraging more fish consumption.
He explained how the book came to be in the top five.
“We looked at the squid and we created a recipe book from the research that we had done. We looked at ways in which one could provide Diamondback squid dishes. There are fifty-three recipes in the book which were tested in our [kitchen] at the Fisheries Division. We submitted the book to Gourmand International in Paris, France in 2012 and interestingly, they sent us an emailing announcing that we were one of the top five finalists in the category of best Fish and Seafood cookbooks in the world.”
The recipe book, Norris says, is all local. It was published by Paramount Printers, tested by Dominicans and features local ingredients in the creation of locally-caught Diamondback squid dishes.
Three chefs compiled the recipes: Mitsuhiro Ishida and Takahiro Senda Of The Japan International Cooperation Agency, and Fisheries Officer, Norman Norris.
The book includes recipes for Diamondback squid ceviche, roti roll, diet bread, sushi, liver and burger.
Norris says the honour of placing in the top five reflects very well on Dominica’s Fisheries Division which has a very impressive track record of achievements.
“Over the last four years, the Fisheries Division has had as very high success rate with our work programme at the local, regional and international levels. In 2012, we received the highest award from the Caribbean Food and Nutrition institute for out Eat Fish Day programmes, which has been taken to a global level by Fisheries Officer Sebastian. Also in 2010, Derrick Theophile won Public Officer of the Year. He went to Tanzania to receive an award for Public Service International in the category of Advanced in Knowledge Management in Government. So the Division has been getting some accolades on various levels.”
Norris also revealed that currently, research on the Diamondback squid, which can be found along the entire west coast, continues on the eastern side of the country.
The findings are expected to be presented at a regional conference later this year.
Norris made special note of the persons contributing to the success of the recipe book, expressing his thanks.
“We have used the services of many local fishers so we are very grateful to them since they were involved in the research and development phase. They went out every Thursday morning from 4am to catch squid for processing at the Fisheries Complex. The staff of the Fisheries Division also contributed significantly,. They were the ones used as tasters. Also, the Japan International Cooperation Agency through their local office and regional expert, Chef Mitsuhiro Ishida who was involved in the production of the recipe book, volunteering from the Adult Education Division, Takahiro Senda also participated in the project. It was really a labour of love and a number of persons were involved without who it would have been impossible.”
The Diamondback squid can grow up to two metres long and weigh up to sixty-six pounds.