1. How did you get started in your industry?
I got started by accident. I needed a job after school and the local seafood retailer had a position going for filleting fish. I got it and stayed for 6 years. I paid my way through Uni I studied teaching.
2. Why do you do what you do?
I love it! After finishing my teaching degree, I went overseas. When I came back to Australia I tried to get a teaching job, but got one at the Sydney Fish Markets instead.
3. What is your first seafood or fishing memory?
Growing up in Lake Macquarie, I hated fishing. I found it so boring. Even now, I much prefer buying fish than catching it.
4. What does your average day look like?
I get to the markets at 3.30am and I am in charge of buying for our restaurants. I check the orders then look at what’s available on the auction floor. If the restaurant’s choice is not available, I make a decision about what to buy instead for them. They trust me. I buy either at auction or directly from the fishers. Between 4.30am and 9.30am I buy and pack the fish. Then I ring the chefs to tell them what I bought for them. I am usually out of shop by 2pm.
5. What is your favourite part of the day?
I love the auction. There’s only a few like this left in the world, where people are actually there in person. There are 200 buyers on the grand stand. The atmosphere is really dynamic, everyone’s yelling. You get to know everyone there. You never know what will happen. I still get that sick feeling in my stomach when I really want something but I don’t want to pay a crazy price for it, and others want it to. It’s a thrill.
6. What’s one thing people would not know about your day?
I still spend time filleting the fish. That was my first job and I still enjoy it. I pull up my boots and the apron and I get in there.
7. Where do you see the industry going in the future?
I think the market will become more and more varied because consumers are more interested in trying different species.
8. What’s a common misconception you encounter about seafood?
That imported or frozen seafood is inferior. We love Australia but we cannot produce enough. You can find good imported seafood If you do your research.
9. What are the three main qualities people should look for in seafood they purchase?
Use your senses. Fresh seafood should look appealing, not slimy, no strong fishy smell. It should feel firm and have clear eyes and gills.