Tidal apprenticeships on the menu for Climavore project

Eating out: The ATLAS oyster table in Portree in 2017.

Skye-based Atlas Arts is working in partnership with local school pupils and restaurants across the island on a project that promotes environmental regeneration.

Working in association with London-based artists Cooking Sections – Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe – Atlas will launch the Climavore apprentice programme with a series of events on Saturday 1st June and Sunday 2nd.

The overarching project, ‘Climavore: On Tidal Zones’ seeks to transform our diets with ingredients that contribute to cleaning Skye’s waters through their natural growth while educating the next generation of cooks who can embrace these changes.

Evolving from the installation of an oyster table on the foreshore at Bayfield, Portree, in 2017, the latest iteration is designed to enhance and expand the connection to the environment through an educational programme in partnership with Portree High School.

Since November 2018 over 20 students have participated in Climavore cookery workshops, including oyster shucking and seaweed bread-baking classes led by local chefs, scallop divers and Cooking Sections. Students have learnt about the aquacultures along the tidal zones of Skye and food practices that can support them.

During the summer, three graduates of the course have been awarded a Climavore apprenticeship in restaurants across Skye and Raasay – Edinbane Lodge, Raasay House, and Scorrybreac Restaurant. Working in close collaboration with the chefs and kitchen teams, the apprentices will develop, prepare and serve Climavore dishes to support and develop alternative aquacultures that promote cleaner usage of the tidal zone.

The programme will be launched with a celebratory meal on Saturday 1st June at the oyster table in Portree. Prepared in partnership with the pupils, diners will be treated to a lunch of scallop ceviche, oysters, seaweed soup and carrageen panna cotta, washed down with a Harris Gin and sea buckthorn cocktail.

Events on Sunday 2nd June will include a walk to a rare native Skye oyster habitat, which will be followed by a screening of the recently-released film ‘Artifishal’ at the Aros Centre in Portree. Produced by Patagonia, ‘Artifishal’ is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. The film screening will be followed by a discussion led by environmentalist Corin Smith.

Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe tuck in to some kelp lasagne.

Alon Schwabe of Cooking Sections explained why he believed this project was so vital. He said: “All across the Scottish isles, the United Kingdom and across the planet we are witnessing a tremendous loss of biodiversity and extensive pollution of our air, land, and waterways. In the UK and all around the world, the environments we leave to future generations are in a fragile state.

“Climavore questions how we eat as humans changes climate and develops programmes to provide tools to young residents of Skye to transform food practices, ecologies and environments to become better places for humans, plants and animals living along the tidal zone.”

Atlas Arts producer Shona Cameron added: “Working with the students and teachers at Portree High School over the last year has been an exciting development for this project. The students have shown real enthusiasm to learn about the local ingredients and engage in conversations that question sustainability.

“It has been brilliant to see restaurants across the islands continue to show enthusiasm towards the aims of Climavore and demonstrate a willingness to take on apprentices, working with them to bring Climavore dishes to their menus. It is our vision to expand the apprenticeships to more students and restaurants across the whole academic year, starting in September 2019.”

If you would like to attend these events or wish further information, you can visit atlasarts.org.uk, email shona@atlasarts.org.uk or phone 01478 611143.

For more on these events, you can also listen to Atlas Arts producer Shona Cameron’s interview with Cuillin FM’s Catriona Maclean here.