19th November 2015
Founder of Tasmania’s Ashmore Foods, James Ashmore, is excited by the fact that chefs across Australia are thinking outside of the box with regard to the preparation and plating of seaweed.
Together with Dr Craig Sanderson, James has founded the company Kai Ho ‘Ocean Treasure’ as a means to cultivate seaweed and therefore make it more accessible to the foodservice industry in Australia.
The company is currently handling the Undaria variety of seaweed, using both the leaves/frond (or wakame) and the sporophil (or mekabu).
“Because it’s an introduced species it’s deemed as a pest. They (the state government) want us to take it; it’s pest eradication,” said Ashmore. “It’d be far, far more viable. You could do it really well. It may change, but at the moment, there’s no way that you’re ever going to eradicate this plant. It’s not like you’re in a paddock and you can quarantine it. It’s in the ocean and it can grow so quickly. Farming it would be sensible … but it’s like saying you’re going to farm foxes.”
Kai Ho is currently focused on producing a top quality fresh, frozen and dried seaweed product with the response from chefs so far proving promising.
“More and more chefs are taking it on. They’re not intimidated by it now as much as they were in the earlier days. They can see it’s just another product that they can try in different formats – and it’s not expensive; you’re not playing with caviar.”