Grimsby’s seafood sector ‘at the heart’ of health and levelling up solutions – Henry Dimbleby MBE

Grimsby’s seafood sector has a dual role to play in helping the UK overcome its biggest challenges, an esteemed businessman and adviser to government has told.

Henry Dimbleby MBE, a cookery writer, restaurant founder and until very recently the lead non-executive director to Defra, addressed the town’s key cluster as guest of honour at a Seafood Gala Dinner, hosted by Seafood Grimsby and Humber Alliance. And he said the town was “at the heart” of dealing with a ticking health timebomb and continued efforts to ‘level-up’.

Mr Dimbleby, who supported the key government department in a five year spell that saw five Secretary of States, four Prime Ministers and as many preparations for and climbdowns from anticipated Brexit deals, said: “Grimsby sits at the interface between two of the biggest problems we face in this country.

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“We need to change our food culture. We need to train a generation of people to cook and to eat well because if we don’t our NHS is going to be overrun by diet-related diseases.

“We also need hubs of innovation and excellence like Grimsby to thrive and to spread wealth around the local area. At the moment, no matter what we think of the latest diagnosis, too much money is in London to the disadvantage of everywhere else. What is exciting is the energy and innovation here to make Grimsby part of the solution. If Grimsby succeeds the UK succeeds.”

The Leon chain founder also sits on the board of fellow guest Mitch Tonks’ Rockfish seafood restaurant operation, in which Wynne Griffiths is a shareholder. The former Young’s Seafood CEO is credited with playing a huge part in uniting the extremely competitive cluster around skills and infrastructure development, and deployed Tonks’ talents to help market the Ross House team’s products.

Mr Dimbleby was full of praise for the work done to facilitate major investments in skills and capacity – adding that Defra officials were equally enthused.

He said: “This dinner is part Fishmongers’ Company and part Seafood Grimsby and Humber, and Fishmongers’ was founded on the understanding – and the food sector is quite good at this – that as aggressively as we compete, we all need to work together, creating a world where we can all be successful. Getting that balance right is important, and in particular, focusing on creating an environment where skills are being improved, where there is fertile ground for innovation and fertile ground for investment. It is really important.”

More than 100 senior figures from the sector heard him congratulate the award of the recent Seafood School funding, which will see Grimsby Institute’s facility significantly enhanced, while he spoke highly of investments that netted more backing, including New England Seafood, Fastnet and HSH – recently rebranded as Constellation.

His comments came after canapes and a four-course seafood dinner was served up at Laceby Manor, where the kitchen was taken over by the Beyond Food London-based chef-led charity that this summer teamed up with the Humber’s sailing-based equivalent, Cat Zero, to help people with mental health, addiction, exclusion and homelessness issues. Led by Simon Doyle “a good friend of the seafood cluster,” he and his team delivered a menu with strong local links, with the quality of the fish strongly praised by the man behind Brigade Bar & Kitchen at Tower Bridge.

A total of £8,000 was raised for Beyond Food and Cat Zero with a raffle.

Dishes of fishes: The menu, and courses, clockwise from top left, Nikkei tuna, Grimsby landed lobster and coal-roasted British hake.
Dishes of fishes: The menu, and courses, clockwise from top left, Nikkei tuna, Grimsby landed lobster and coal-roasted British hake.

The occasion celebrated New England Seafood chair Fred Stroyan’s year as prime steward of The Fishmongers’ Company. New England is a major inward investor into Grimsby, emerging strongly over the past decade, with significant strides currently being made on Europarc.

The dinner followed a day’s workshop involving industry leaders. Simon Smith, chair of Seafood Grimsby and Humber Alliance and vice chair of Young’s Seafood – and its owner, Sofina Foods Europe – reflected on progress since the umbrella organisation launched in early 2022, delivering a step-change as funding flows.

He said: “We are dedicated to facilitating and promoting the seafood industry in the Humber region, where 6,000 are employed directly and another 6,000 rely on seafood for ancillary industries, such as engineering, technical and logistics businesses. All support a significant economic impact for the area, and an amazing collaboration exists in the pre-competitive arena to achieve goals we have set ourselves.” He told how work on skills development, carbon measurement and innovation and research had received national recognition, while it serves to give a voice to the cluster whenever needed.

“There’s a uniqueness to our seafood sector, and we should all seek to add to the advancement,” he added.

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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