Crab a Piece of This!

To see is to believe. There is no better way of demonstrating the value of a Crustastun than to see it in action, so Mitchell & Cooper Project Director, Kat Cooper and The Chefs’ Forum team headed off to Brixham to put it to the test. Joining them were Chef Jolly and local chef Canon Vas from the Berry Head Hotel.

Mitchell & Cooper is proud to manufacture Crustastun at their family-run factory in Ukfield, East Sussex.  They are carrying out a series of live trials at the moment and are systematically receiving hugely-positive-feedback about the improved eating quality of crab and lobster, humanely-dispatched, using their patented cutting-edge, humane, technology, while raising welfare standards in the processing of live crustaceans in a professional kitchen environment.

The purpose of Brixham trip was to meet the fishermen and market traders at the ‘chalk face’ of the fishing industry, then to see the wonderful creations produced in the kitchen by top Indian fish chefs, all using Crustastun to stun the freshest live Brixham crab and the results were truly amazing.

Project Director and Crustastun Manufacturer Kat Cooper said

“We have had a brilliant time in Brixham with The Chefs’ Forum and the hugely-talented chefs we have met along the way.  To be shown around the fish market by the Rockfish chefs was such an amazing experience and the passion and excitement form the chefs in our party was infectious.  I am really excited for the future of Crustastun and at how well it has been received by the chefs who are using it. Crustastun is especially dear to us as we manufacture it and it is so great to see it being tested by top chefs in the field.”

First up, was a visit to the famous fish market and then out on the boat to see the pots that are dotted around the Devon coast.

“We’re working with Mitchell & Cooper to promote improved animal welfare in professional kitchens,” explained Chefs Forum Director Catherine Farinha. “We believe passionately in the humane dispatch of shellfish which have been shown to have what is known as sentience. In the other words they can be adversely harmed by traditional methods of preparation such as being plunged into boiling water or pierced with a sharp knife.

“The Crustastun used electricity and water to literally stun the shellfish and results in much higher quality meat and it’s done humanely. What’s not to like? We decided to do this in Brixham with the freshest crab we could find and invited some local chefs to come and see for themselves. It was a brilliant day.”

Rockfish Chef Director Kirk Gosden and Senior Head Chef, Kyle Williams took great delight in showing their chefs peers around Brixham Fish Market, the largest in the UK by value of fish sold.  They walked the group through the tremendous bounty of species landed at the market; From beautiful lobster to bream, stunning seabass to John Dory and Turbot as big as Land Rover wheels, Jolly and Canon were in their element.

Kirk said

“We love having chefs visit Brixham fish market for tours.  It’s wonderful to see the excitement on their faces as they explore the different elements of the sea to land process.  From trawlers to grading and quality control, it was great to explain the fishing processes and the daily trade deals sealed by silent auction, on a national and international level to our chef peers.”

We were also joined by David Markham from the Blue Seafood Company in neighbouring Paignton, who supplies beautiful Brixham Crab to Rockfish and is also a Brand Ambassador for Crustastun.

David said

“There is this issue going on around sentience and the population is behind it. And when anyone asks, we explain that we use Crustastun and it is compassionate. We’ve done our part to make sure our restaurant dispatches crab in the most humane manner.

“We’ve very quickly started to adopt the Crustastun technology, from a humane perspective mainly. We use it in our larger crab business, Blue Sea Crab, and when we opened our restaurant, The Crab & Hammer in Paignton, it was a natural progression to use a smaller version in the kitchen.

“We’ve had comments from the likes of Raymond Blanc and The Waterside Inn how they can really notice the difference in the flavour of the crab and we were truly amazed with the difference to the improved eating quality of the crab meat when it is humanely stunned, it is less stressed and more tender as a result.

International Celebrity Chef Jolly concluded

“It was an absolute privilege to see the fish market and we are so grateful to the Rockfish chefs for the tour and the fantastic surf and turf breakfast they kindly prepared for us afterwards in Rockfish.  It is wonderful to see the care and passion that runs through everything the team do and take in the beautiful harbour views or trawlers, fishermen and general market activity.  I felt much better about using Crustastun to humanely dispatch Brixham crab, then creating a wonderful Kerala crab curry in a cook-off with Canon in his kitchen and the quality of the crab coming out of Torbay is simply sensational –The crab meat really was really tender and stunning crustaceans is definitely the future in professional kitchens.  I had a great time and will certainly be visiting Brixham and Rockfish again soon.”

The Chefs’ Forum is looking to stage a larger version of this event as we feel it is important for chefs to see where their fish comes from, at source and all of the hard work and passion that goes into supplying professional kitchens across the UK and beyond.   Any chefs who would be interested in attending such an event should contact

Photography & film by Carlos Farinha.