Having seen Welsh shellfish supplier Nerys Edwards’ plea on BBC News, following a lorry-load of live shellfish being stalled for 24 hours in Portsmouth due to new Brexit border rules, chef Jack Stein (and son of Rick) has pledged to purchase a large portion of stock, to bolster Cornish supplies.
The lobsters – 100kg a week in the first instance – will be used for the ‘Stein’s at Home’ boxes: which include everything needed to recreate restaurant-quality meals to finish at home. This is in addition to 400-500kg a week purchased from local Cornish suppliers. Founded in 1975 by Jill and Rick Stein – the restaurants are well-known for their use of and commitment to local Cornish produce. While the restaurants remain shut, local suppliers, farmers and fishermen are supplying the Rick Stein team with their produce for use in the Stein’s at Home menu boxes. The platform of online sales is a lifeline for the family-run restaurants, their employees and suppliers alike.
However, the team have struggled to source enough Cornish lobster to cater for demand of online orders, and when Jack Stein – son of Rick and chef director across all the family’s restaurants – saw Nerys’ plea, he saw an opportunity to help both the restaurant group, Nerys’ fourth-generation fish wholesale company and Welsh fishermen, whose fish and seafood may otherwise be going to waste.
The Rick Stein restaurants are going to purchase 100kg of lobster a week from Welsh supplier, Syren Shellfish. The restaurants have long championed local independent suppliers, and did not want to see fine seafood from Wales go to waste when they have an opportunity to support Syren and its fishermen, through using the lobsters for their ‘at home’ boxes. They will continue to source and purchase lobster locally from their long-standing Cornish suppliers, and will also use Syren Shellfish suppliers of crabs, prawns and lobsters for the restaurants once reopened.
Jack Stein says: “Having seen Nerys on the news, I wanted to get in touch straight away. I felt her pain, and as a company which works with fishermen, seafood and suppliers like Nerys’ on a daily basis, I wanted to help. We are in need of more lobsters in Cornwall, so this was an opportunity to help keep some of Nerys’ suppliers in business while she struggles to ship to Europe. The Stein’s at Home menus have been going really well, and we are doing it to keep revenue flowing, retain our staff while our restaurants are shut, and importantly to make sure we keep using our long-standing Cornish suppliers.”