For the past year and a half, chef Thomas Tennant has made it his personal mission to eradicate the invasive population of lionfish off Cayman’s shores by combining his love of scuba diving and cooking. Through a partnership with Ambassador Divers, the Lionfish Safari was born and with it the opportunity for our customers to get their feet wet, take part in our sourcing of fresh ingredients at the restaurant and enjoy a delicious meal at the end of the day. Genuine food and drink, Genuine Cayman.
“Our first lionfish tournament was at Taste of Cayman 2011, and we have sponsored about five since then,” Thomas recalls. “I would say on average I receive 50-60 pounds per week at the restaurant. So that would come out to around 2,860 pounds since then that we received. Some weeks are good, some are not so good and some are excellent for product. We love the not so good weeks just as much as the excellent ones — less lionfish in the water!”
In tonight’s episode of Michael’s new series on-island exploring the bounty of local ingredients Cayman has to offer, chef Thomas leads the way to a day out on the water with Jason Washington and his team, and a sweet and savory reward at the end — a big, aromatic bowl of Lionfish Chowder, for which you will find his recipe below. Those of you in Miami can look forward to sampling lionfish and many other more invasive species caught locally when chef de cuisine Bradley Herron participates in Fertile Earth Foundation’s UnderGROUND Miami event on June 23. We’ll have more on that on The Genuine Kitchen next month!