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Seafood, food systems and gastronomy

As we grow our new postgraduate programs, we put the spotlight on different businesses within the food industry, each one a pivotal link in the chain of a food system that links to gastronomy. Here we have a chat to George Lucas co-owner of Ocean Made Seafood in Collingwood which supplies some of Melbourne's best restaurants with fresh seafood.

The seafood industry comes under much scrutiny with words like sustainability bandied about but with Australian Fishing Industry quotas tightly managed, it's time to look beyond sustainability and work out ways to understand seafood's role in our food systems and gastronomy.

George Lucas goes to the Melbourne Seafood Centre (the state's wholesale fish market) five mornings a week at around 4am.

"I buy all the fresh fish, come back to the shop and spend most of the day talking to clients," he says.

It's Ocean Made's job to supply their customers, which include many of Melbourne's leading chefs, with the best seafood possible and also help their customers understand the wide variety of seafoods available.

"It's important to us that they're using the produce to the best of their ability," says George. One way of ensuring the chefs gain a better understanding of seafood is to have them visit the Ocean Made processing facility in Collingwood, where they fillet and prepare seafood for their daily orders.

"When we ask chefs to come and look at our facility, it always helps enormously," says George, "they understand what we go through. We go to their restaurants and see what they do and we need them to understand us, too."

George says that one of the best ways to nurture any food connection is through relationships.

"Relationships in this industry are key. With fish becoming harder to access at times and it can be expensive, you need a strong relationship with your supplier because your supplier can not only educate you and your staff but help your business make money through providing a consistent, quality product.

Relationships are pivotal in maintaining strong food systems.

"Relationships and mutual respect," adds George Lucas.

If you're interested in extending your studies and exploring the Master of Food Systems and Gastronomy, come along to the information night on December 6 visit

pic: 1826 Photography