Celebrity Chef Dale Pinnock AKA ‘The Medicinal Chef’ has been working as the Alaska Seafood ambassador to help raise awareness of the health benefits of wild seafood in the diet and to increase confidence in fish cookery. He is an advocate of seafood due to its rich nutritional constitution. He shares his culinary journey and career in this inspirational journey.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where does your love of food come from?
This has really been a lifelong love of food. From as far back as I can remember. I have always loved flavour and variety.
How did you start your career in food? Please describe your journey.
I have been cooking literally since the age of four, but actively working in the industry since I was 16. I have done every role in the restaurant from pot-washing and starters, through to head chef and also front of house. So working with food has been a big part of my life. In terms of the current way in which I work with food, the seeds were sown at a similar age when I battled with acne. I eventually started reading up on nutrition, read over a thousand books on it and became switched on to the fact that nutrition represented a way in which we can actually actively engage in our own health care. So I eventually went to University, my first degree was Human Nutrition, I then went on to do a second degree in Herbal Medicine, and finally a Post Graduate degree in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey.
You have recently become an ambassador for Alaska Seafood. Can you explain the reasons why?
It is no secret that I am a huge advocate of fish consumption. The more, the merrier. However, there is no escaping the fact that the quality of some of the fish on the mass market is very poor and there are so many issues – from my perspective – from sustainability, through to contamination, and nutritional quality of the end product that we, as consumers, should be aware of. This is where Alaska Seafood comes in.
For me, it is the Rolls Royce really of the seafood world. It’s all wild caught fish that has eaten a natural diet of marine organisms and as such has the most superior nutritional quality, particularly in terms of omega 3 fatty acid content. Everything from salmon and pollock to halibut and black cod swim in some of the cleanest waters on the planet so contamination and the question of additives and preservatives etc isn’t really relevant.
As a consumer, we are also having to think more long term about where food products come from. What we enjoy now – will it last forever? For Alaska – yes. I want to be able to buy wild seafood now, in ten years’ time and forever more and due to their strict fishing regulations and stock management, we will. It’s that simple.
What would you say has been your greatest food-related accomplishment to date?
I think it is that my work has facilitated change in the lives of others. By writing books and talking about this subject on TV and Radio, it has enabled people to make changes that have improved their health. It is a true blessing to be able to do that.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
This is quite hard to answer as the industry presents a new challenge every day. I think in recent times, the hardest challenge is getting heard above all of the faddism and social media driven noise, and stand out as a credible source of information, and not just another faddy social media health nut.
What is your favourite meal and why?
I think this is almost impossible to answer as I love so many different types of food. But I’m certainly a huge sushi fan. Good sushi is a thing of beauty. I also love South East Asian flavours like a Panang Curry, or Kari Laksa. I love seafood and I love intense flavours.
Name three ingredients that you cannot live without?
Wild salmon, garlic and red onions.
Who’s For Dinner with you? Who would you invite for a meal of a lifetime with you and why?
Wow, this is a great question. Here are my top three:
- The Dalai Lama – in a world that is made up of such material nonsense and utter confusion and soul searching, someone that can offer clarity and insight into some of the deepest questions we hold would be wonderful.
- Beres Hammond – I love his music.
- Jamie Oliver – he is certainly a business powerhouse in the food world and there are a million things I’d like to pick his brain about
Follow Dale on Instagram @themedicinalchef
Follow Alaska Seafood @alaskaseafooduk