The Seafood Shack: Food & Tales from Ullapool
Winner of 2021 National Geographic Traveller Reader Award for 'Best Food & Travel Book'
Shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers First Book and Single Subject Book Awards 2021
Gourmand Cookbook Award Winner 2020
In 2016 two locals, frustrated at the lack of opportunities to eat the seafood landed in Ullapool, started a seafood shack on the harbour of the North West Highlands town. Serving up whatever their fishermen friends brought them every day, Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick’s crowd funded project was an instant success and a new book, to be published in November, brings this to life.
In their first book, Kirsty and Fenella tell the story of Ullapool’s Seafood Shack and bring together the recipes for the fresh, vibrant, ballsy dishes that have made The Seafood Shack such a Scottish treasure: from their famed Haddock & Pesto Wrap and the super-luxe Lobster Mac & Cheese to incredible super-local delicacies like Spiney Popcorn.
The Seafood Shack was born out of a conversation between Kirsty and Fenella out at sea with their fishermen partners. Ullapool has around twelve local boats fishing in the clear, icy waters of The Minch: five prawn trawlers and seven inshore creel boats, with a further two crabbing boats coming in each week and ten or so white fish boats landing regularly. The vast majority of this huge variety of seafood landing daily was then transferred straight onto the back of a lorry, making it difficult to source it locally. Eager to keep a little fresh seafood for their hometown, Kirsty and Fenella opened up The Seafood Shack. The shack swiftly went onto win recognition, winning the BBC Food & Farming Award for Best Street food or Takeaway in 2017 and hosting visits from the likes of Mary Berry and Albert Roux.
“Many tonnes of seafood are caught in our Scottish seas and then transported straight out of Ullapool. We wanted to play a part in keeping some of our seafood local and so the Seafood Shack was born. What we really love now is being behind the hatches, cooking away and chatting to our customers as they devour a haddock wrap or peel open some fresh buttery langoustines. The book tells this story and shares our approach. What makes the Shack so wonderful to us is its relaxed feel and we don’t have to be stuck in a kitchen behind closed doors, we can be involved in every aspect. The food we cook is simple, quick but most importantly fresh and delicious.”
Punctuated by the voices of local fishermen, the book celebrates the fishing industry that has been the beating heart of Ullapool’s village life for 230 years. With both Fenella and Kirsty’s partners actively involved in fishing, The Seafood Shack also reflects the debate around sustainable fishing.
“The people behind our seafood are a huge part of our story: from Josh’s langoustines and lobsters, Gary’s hand-dived scallops and Stephen’s white fish to the team at our local smokehouse or Joe our oyster producer. These amazing people have been a massive part of our success: at the end of the day we’re not amazing chefs, we’re just two girls who love to cook and having such fantastic and fresh produce is what makes the Shack work.”
The Seafood Shack provides over 80 down to earth recipes and tips for cooking white fish, smoked fish and shellfish. Kirsty and Fenella’s work on the book was recognised when they were announced as winners of the Jane Grigson Trust Award for New Writers earlier this year.
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