As an archipelago of 7,107 islands, the Philippines naturally boasts of rich marine biodiversity where seafood abound.
However, the country is not exempted from the global issue of marine ecosystem destruction and exploitation.
“The Philippines is not a country in isolation in relation to seafood [issues]. We import a lot, we export a lot,” Greenpeace Philippines Oceans campaigner Vince Cinches remarked during the AccorHotels Group’s Sustainable Seafood Week celebration at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.
Held on February 20 to 27, the second Philippine Sustainable Seafood Week continued the commitment to raising awareness among consumers of unsustainable fishing practices and its harmful implications with various activities such as workshops, cooking demonstrations, and presentations across Manila.
One of the private entities that signed up to this noble task was AccorHotels through its property, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. It hosted the workshop on February 23 where environmental groups, hotels and restaurants, and government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) came together to discuss the roadmap to a sustainable seafood industry.
“The future of how we eat fish really depends upon all sectors of all the industry – not only from the fishing communities or the commercial fishing fleets, or the government or NGOs, but also in all establishments and consumers. Consumers must demand that the fish [or any seafood]that they eat is traceable and coming from sustainable and ethical sources,” Cinches added.
In response, Sofitel General Manager and concurrently area general manager of AccorHotels Philippines Adam Laker noted that their group [comprised of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Raffles Makati, Fairmont Makati, Novotel Manila Araneta Center and Mercure Manila Ortigas]is committed to supporting Sustainable Seafood Week, assuring diners that an ever-increasing percentage of the seafood served are sourced from non-endangered fisheries.
Meanwhile, Christian Schmidradner, general manager of Meliomar Inc. and coordinator of Sustainable Seafood Week Philippines, shared why a partnership with large hotel chains is vital for this advocacy.
“It is important that large international hotel groups have access to responsibly and sustainably produced and sourced seafood so that chefs can implement their hotels’ sustainability goals and address the growing demand from guests for sustainable food sources,” Schmidradner expressed.
At the event, Sofitel’s Japanese master chef Hiromi Yonekawa and his team prepared sashimi, maki, nigiri sushi and smoked mahi mahi. Restaurant operations chef Alain Rion and his team, meanwhile prepared mackerel comfit with star anise, blood orange braised fennel and lobster squid ink quinoa risotto lemon confit vinaigrette, which were all French-inspired.
Raffles and Fairmont Makati, on the other hand, served sautéed squid chorizo oil and sweet garlic cream ceviche, which had a French and Brazilian flair.
Novotel Manila Araneta Center served sous vide lobster tail in polenta cake and octopus confit in potato birds nest, which had German and Spanish inspirations.
Finally, Mercure Manila Ortigas served Asian tuna taco and black tiger prawn salad roll, giving a Mediterranean twist. CHRISTINA ALPAD