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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chefs association takes stand at annual dinner

Great move from the Singapore Chefs Associations (SCA) to exclude shark fin from their annual dinner.

Shark's fin not on menu
Chefs association takes stand at annual dinner

January 21, 2009, New Paper

WHEN the Singapore Chefs Association (SCA) holds its annual lo hei dinner this year, one dish will be noticeably missing.

Shark's fin, a near staple at Chinese banquets, will be left out of the menu by the experts at making it.

The dinner, which will be held on 1 Feb at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel , will mark the first time that the association is deliberately leaving out the dish.

Ironically, though, the same chefs admit that they will not be able to stop serving the dish to their customers.

Explaining the move to not eat the dish during their dinner, SCA President Eric Teo, 46, said that chefs were conscious of the process of harvesting shark's fin.

Calling it 'cruel', he added that the luxury dish has led to an 'over-finning' of the fish.

Mr Teo revealed that it was the association's honorary president mentor, Mr Otto Weibel, who mooted going without shark's fin at the event.

The suggestion was accepted unanimously by the organising committee.

'In our personal capacity, we can make a stand,' said Mr Weibel, 62, who is director of kitchens for RC Hotels Limited.

But they admit it will be difficult to stop making the dish for their customers.

'It's harder to stop serving shark's fin in our restaurants as the consumers still demand it,' said Mr Weibel.

Agreeing, Mr Teo said that the dish 'will remain as a delicacy'.

'We've had requests from customers to use ingredients other than shark's fin. On our part, we try to use less of it as well,' he said.

Conservation activists were pleased with the decision to remove shark's fin from the dinner menu.

Mr Grant Pereira, 59, Asian Education Coordinator for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said that the move was a 'a very, very positive step'.

'If the chefs can reduce their consumption, everyone else can as well. I think we can take the lead from them on this,' he said.

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