The fish quay cutter


People who are exceptionally good at their jobs have a knack of making what they do look easy, as shown  by those who “cut” fish on North Shields Fish Quay.

I owned a fishmonger’s shop for five years so it’s a job I spent day after day perfecting, but this is nothing compared to Mick at Taylor’s Seafoods, who’s been doing it for more than 50 years. At 69 he’s about to retire and fortunately for us, in between grappling large salmon and monster skates, he’s passed on his considerable knowledge to his colleagues.

When Mick started work at North Shields, filleting was a common skill, so much of the fish caught was sent off whole to cities like London and Manchester. He taught himself by watching others and over the years has taught many more.

There used to be hundreds of cutters working out in the open where you now find Sambuca’s and Seaview Fisheries, working with the sharp wind howling around their hands, but now there are only about a dozen on the Fish Quay.

As part of my mission to make fish an everyday dish, the two recipes right are simple, tasty and very quick to cook. Enjoy – and say hello to Mick next time you see him!

Recipe: Baked Rolls of Flat Fish on Lemon

Recipe: Mussels in Bacon, Leeks and Beer 

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