Dame Jackie Lau demonstrates fish technique on a Mū or Bigeye Emperor.

Over 20 participants enjoyed this educational demo by Dame Chef Jackie Lau which included a tour of the Honolulu fish auction and learning how to cut a fish in the private kitchen and dining room of the MW Restaurant. Brooks Tanenaka from the auction did a great job informing the group on how the fish is brought in, categorized, priced and talked about how they trace back to the boat if a fish was deemed “bad.” Most people have very little knowledge regarding these issues and procedures. One participant commented that it made her think twice the next time she goes to a “cheap” sushi restaurant. “Traceability” or “Point of Origin” is something that people might be familiar with regarding other food items but not necessarily fish or seafood. Also, how the fish is cleaned and stored is very important. If done correctly, the fish can stay fresh for 2-3 weeks on the boat and won’t have that “fishy” smell. The group learned that it should have an “ocean” smell instead of a “fishy” smell.

Preparing fish en papillote.

Once at the MW private kitchen, Jackie Lau explained how to keep a fish for 2 to 3 days correctly in a refrigerator. With a whole fish, it should be sitting on a bed of ice in a perforated pan with another pan underneath it for the melted ice to collect into. Most importantly the fish should not be sitting in water. The ice should be replaced as needed. This way the fish will maintain its ocean smell and remain firm. Dame Jackie continued with demonstrating how to fillet an entire whole fish and actually how to cook and eat almost the entire whole fish. (One way to make use of fish bones is in stock—try Dame Kathi Saks’ recipe below.) She then gave everyone an opportunity to come up and breakdown a fish themselves with her guidance. For one participant, it was her very first experience cutting fish properly. It wasn’t as difficult as she thought it would be. Everyone learned how to cook fish in parchment paper, which is called fish en papillote.

Thanks to Chef Jackie, my meal was delicious and better than some restaurants!!!! I hope to attend more events like this in the future.

We also received this great compliment and review of the workshop from one of the non-member attendees:

My husband and I recently participated in your fish demo (Tip to Tail). We were both very impressed with your skill in organizing the event; it was efficiently presented, information-packed, and smoothly run. Not to mention enlightening and fun!

– Lynne K.

Basic Fish Stock

by Dame Kathi Saks

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 5 pounds fish bones
  • 10 cups water
  • 4 ounces onions, small dice
  • 2 ounces carrots, small dice
  • 2 ounces celery, small dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 4 each parsley stems
  1. Combine all ingredients in a stockpot putting the last 4 in as a sachet with cheesecloth and string.
  2. Bring to a simmer and skim impurities as necessary.
  3. Simmer for approximately 2 hours.
  4. Strain with cheesecloth, cool and refrigerate or freeze.

Note: you will need cheesecloth and kitchen string for this recipe. You may also want to add the following to your stock for a slightly different flavor: a touch of dry white wine, lemon juice and mushroom trimmings.