Monday, 30 May 2011

Taylors Seafood and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

I decided last week that I wanted to include more features about the North Shields Fish Quay into the blog. After all this blog is written about the places, people and events that are on my doorstep and I can walk to the Fish Quay as quickly as I can walk to Longsands.

A few people had told me that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was going to be filming at various locations in the area including Taylors Seafood based in the heart of the Fish Quay. I checked their facebook page which confirmed this and decided to pop down the day before his visit to check if I could pop down on the day and take some photos for the blog. I was invited down the following morning to snap away. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not a morning person so a 5.30am start to my day came as a shock to the system. I walked from my flat down to the Fish Quay in some brilliant morning sunlight and saw a side to the fish quay that I had never seen before - I even managed to get a coffee and a bacon sandwich at 6.15am (but that's a story for a different time). Tony and his crew at Taylors Seafood opened up just before 7am and began preparations for their day ahead which would include selling the latest seafood catch as usual but also to welcome Bafta Award winning TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to their premises.  What struck me about Taylors Seafood straight away was two things - atmosphere and quality. The guys made me feel very welcome with a nice mug of tea and a friendly chat about what they do whilst they were setting up. The variety of seafood on offer was quiet astonishing; from locally sourced fish, just landed into the quay side from the trawlers, to more exotic items like Canadian lobsters and more seafood that you would find on TV's 'The Deadliest Catch' (which happened to be playing on a plasma screen).

It was not long before a the shop began to fill up with a mixture of local restaurants and fish merchants to locals with an appetite for great seafood at affordable prices. I will not buy fish from a supermarket after witnessing the quality, expertise and selection on offer here. Sally who owns the Martineau Guest House, featured earlier in the blog, is a regular customer and popped in to buy her fish while I was there, she showed me a whopping great whale of a fish for £4 - now when I say whale - I mean Moby Dick sized.
Before long Hugh and his film crew turned up at Taylors with their own catch (the fish that is normally wasted because of bureaucratic laws as mentioned in my previous two posts). I made myself known to Hugh and his team and promised to keep out of the way whilst they were filming. One of the few problems with my camera is that I look like press and it makes people wary at times. After speaking with the sound engineer I decided that I should keep my distance and shoot with a long lens (70-200mm for camera buffs). This meant that my shutter clicks would not be audible on the mike.

Shooting from such a distance is quite problematic, I was very far away and its hard to compose a scene but the guys had filming to get so I got what I could, when I could. I think that my adherence to the crew's wishes won me some respect as they began to talk to me about shooting some images at a local primary school (featured later). I think the filming at Taylors went well as there was a nice varied selection of people for Hugh to talk to and serve and the staff seamed to enjoy their visit too.

I will be popping into Taylor's tomorrow to say hello to everyone and to thank them for being so welcoming.

You can view Taylor Seafood's website here:

Please take a look at Hugh's website here which has details of the Fish Fight Campaign:

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