Restaurant etch. Head Chef shares his Alaska Seafood Experience, while on set with Great British Chefs

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It’s a unique sight to see: two head chefs cooking side by side in a professional kitchen. Peculiar even moreso, when those head chefs are cooking a dish for each other. 

So when Steven Edwards of Brighton & Hove’s etch., and Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya of Sarap in London stepped on set with ASMI and Great British Chefs, the crew knew it would be an exciting day. 

Budgie already shared some of his memories from the ASMI Culinary Retreat, so it’s Edwards' turn to explain his passion for sustainability and talk about his love of cooking with wild-caught seafood. The Masterchef: The Professionals winner also shared what he thought of Budgie’s Filipino sweet and sour Alaska pollock dish. Spoiler: it was a hit. 

Read on to learn more about the ways Alaska’s fishing trade ‘respects’ fish caught – and how Edwards honored the fresh, natural flavour of the sockeye salmon he prepared for Budgie to taste on the day.

Hi Steven – can you share one sustainability fact that has ‘stuck’ with you since the Alaska Seafood Culinary Retreat earlier this year? 

When we were fishing in Alaska, each fish caught on the line [was] measured, and either kept or released depending on its size. We also had individual quotas for each fish. 

Alaska limits fisherman's catch – enabling continuous fishing for years to come. And instead of hitting 100% of that limit they have decided to go to 70%. This means that fish stock levels will increase dramatically year on year guaranteeing stock levels for many more years to come.


Can you explain the role of sustainably sourced ingredients at your restaurant, etch? 

Sustainability plays a massive part in how we create the menus at etch. This is one of the main reasons for having dishes on the menu for only four weeks at a time. We believe that having more variety and using the right ingredients at the right time helps protect food sources and allows them to replenish. 

Sustainability isn't just the location of where a product is coming from, it's the whole journey from how it is caught, stored and transported is what we are looking into as well as having exceptional quality. 


On the ASMI x Great British Chefs shoot day, you cured fillets of Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon.  Why did you decide to prepare the salmon in this way? 

I love curing salmon as it brings out the lovely fresh natural flavour it possesses. By curing fish it firms up the fillet giving a lovely texture and the salt and sugar mix gives a great seasoning to the fish.

Have you cooked with Alaska Sockeye Salmon since your trip? Will you look to incorporate Alaska seafood in the etch. menu in future? 

This was the first time since the trip that I worked with Alaska sockeye salmon. It was great to evoke the memories of catching and cooking with it while in Alaska. At etch., We are always looking for ways to not only improve the menu but [use] more sustainable food sources. The way sockeye salmon is caught and respected, making sure that it is not overfished and leaving plenty of stock levels year on year ticks a lot of boxes when looking for a new ingredient to work with. 


You were cooking alongside Budgie – and tried his Filipino inspired dish using Alaska Pollock. What did you enjoy about the flavours in his dish? 

I love cooking with Budgie, although our styles are very different we share similar philosophies in balancing dishes. Budgies Filipino Alaska pollock tasted great. I loved the sauce, it was banging! The sweet and sour tanginess really complemented the pollock. 

You can find the video clip of Budgie and Edwards cooking together HERE. 

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More about Steven Edwards

After winning the sixth series of Masterchef: The Professionals, Steven Edwards spent three years creating pop-up restaurant experiences. In 2017 he started ‘etch’, finding a permanent home for the restaurant in Brighton & Hove. etch reflects seasonality through its weekly tasting menus – celebrating local and British produce.


More about Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya

‘Budgie’ champions Filipino cuisine in the London restaurant scene. The Sydney-raised chef first presented Londoners with a food hall offering: Apoy. Serving up barbecued skewers, with genius-level flavour combinations.  Since Market Hall, Budgie has established a permanent home in Sarap in Carnaby, where he continues to find fusion between beautiful produce, traditional Filipino flavour and a unique Chef Budgie ‘twist’.