Lionfish: 'Eat Them to Beat Them'
" enjoy the sweet white meat of this problem fish "
From Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs competitor to Chargé de Missions, Chris Malpas, Executive Chef at the Bank of Butterfield, is not only a talented chef, he is also a respected leader and a pioneer in the kitchen.
Supporting young chefs to participate in the Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition is part of her role as Bailli Délégué of Bermuda that Josée Roy-Froncioni takes very seriously. “With a population of 60,000 and a local college that graduates only five young chefs per year, my task is difficult. But sometimes we strike gold with a young chef who is not only passionate about cooking but also has the skills and talent to compete at an international level.”
In 1995 one such chef came along: Chris Malpas. He had graduated in the culinary arts from the Bermuda College and had just returned to Bermuda after earning a degree at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
Josée told the Revue that Chris won the local competition easily. At the time, Bermuda was a Bailliage under the umbrella of the USA, so in order for Chris to compete in the international competition he had to first compete in the USA. He did so well that the National Bailliage officers decided that it would be only fair to allow Chris to go to Budapest as their runner-up.
Over the years, Chris gained further culinary experience in Switzerland and later in the kitchens of the luxury cruise line Silversea which he claims exposed him to different cultures and their culinary treasures. Upon his return, he took a Chef Instructor role at the Bermuda College. A few years later he was offered the position of Executive Chef at the Bank of Butterfield in Bermuda, where he has been for more than two decades.
During those years, Chris has pioneered the use of lionfish as an ingredient in traditional Bermuda recipes. Lionfish are not native to the Western Atlantic and with no known predators their population has been growing alarmingly, posing a threat to other local species.
The lionfish work was carried out through the Groundswell charity. The slogan, ‘Eat Them to Beat Them’, was created to encourage people to harvest recreationally and experience a great tasting fish. It was a win-win - cull the invasive species, help to protect the local marine environment, and enjoy the sweet white meat of this problem fish.
Chris has continued to hone his competition skills as a member of the Bermuda Culinary Team. His attention to detail and talent as a group leader, demonstrating technique and knowledge, contributed to the team winning several silver and gold medals, competing overseas. He has continued to mentor young chefs, which is part of his role in the Bailliage of Bermuda.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a damper on our renewed endeavour but we are still planning to have a young chef compete when we get the green light from the International Organising Committee,” said Josée.
Editor, Revue internationale de la Chaîne
Ed. This article was first published in the 2020 edition of the Revue internationale de la Chaîne