New Zealand chef puts jel­ly­fish on the menu

The Guardian Weekly - - Diversions - Eleanor Ainge Roy

An en­vi­ron­men­tally minded New Zealand chef is sell­ing plates of im­ported jel­ly­fish af­ter be­com­ing frus­trated that the seafood is be­ing wasted in his home­land.

Mass jel­ly­fish land­ings are an in­creas­ingly com­mon oc­cur­rence in New Zealand, with sci­en­tists say­ing warm­ing sea tem­per­a­tures, a de­cline in preda­tors and nu­tri­en­trich oceans are con­tribut­ing fac­tors.

Ja­cob Brown, an award­win­ning chef from Welling­ton’s The Larder res­tau­rant first started ex­per­i­ment­ing with jel­ly­fish a cou­ple of years ago, and says the seafood has bal­looned in pop­u­lar­ity as din­ers look for more sus­tain­able pro­teins in their meals.

Brown now sells around 150 jel­ly­fish meals a week to his cus­tomers, and would like to ex­pand his menu to in­clude lo­cal pos­sums, wasps, ants and wild Cana­dian geese.

“Jel­ly­fish is a real is­sue over here and when I started cook­ing with it I re­alised it was also a re­ally good prod­uct,” says Brown.

Be­cause of Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries re­stric­tions Brown is un­able to serve lo­cal jel­ly­fish at his res­tau­rant, and has to im­port it from South Korea. Brown says the MPI re­stric­tions are “crazy” and says on some days he is barely able to swim in Welling­ton har­bour be­cause the ocean is clogged with jel­ly­fish.

“Some peo­ple go ‘yuck, no way’ and those are the peo­ple I re­ally want to tar­get and change their per­cep­tion,” Brown said.

Bon ap­pétit … a swarm of moon jel­ly­fish

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