give a fork, folks

Dunno know about you, but I'm, like, the only one in my circle of friends who asks the waiter if the chicken is free range or the prawns are imported. I get eye rolls and uncomfortable shuffles and the embarrassment is palpable.. and that's from my mates!

Lyndey Milan's fried calamari and artichokes featured in the Give a Fork! e-Cookbook, details below. Photo by Chris Chen.

Short of jamming facts and figures down my mates' throats (which would be fun now, wouldn't it) the only effective means of gently gently suggesting we should give a crap about the food we eat is to dish up the kind of food you believe in. Ya know, that whole lead by example thing.

That's why I'm liking Sustainable Table's latest campaign. It's called Give a Fork! (I like that too). The campaign is designed to inspire passionate people to spread the sustainable foodie word to their friends and family in a relaxed and delish way. Here's the gist in 2-minutes of animated goodness:

And so you know, I'm part of the team at Sustainable Table and have been involved in this campaign. 

Why seafood?
This year we chose to focus the campaign on seafood. Despite our love affair with seafood, few  people are aware of the issues our oceans and fish populations face. I hate to sound all preachy but our oceans are in quite a bit of strife and it's up to us to do something about it. We can do something about it. The choices we make at the shop or the restaurant do make a difference. A few startling facts:

  • Predatory fish populations (like Shark (flake), Tuna, Swordfish etc) are down to 10% of what they were in the 1950s. We may not like the thought of sharks but these predatory fish play a pivotal role in keeping oceanic ecosystems in balance.
  • Over 70% of the seafood we eat in Australia is imported from countries that rank very low in terms of responsible fisheries management, environmental practices and human rights, countries like Thailand, Vietnam and China. Prawns from these countries (unless certified sustainable) are a major issue in particular.
  • Around 1/4 of the world's catch is bycatch, i.e. turtles, seals, dolphins and birds that get caught up in fishing gear. They get tossed back either dead or dying. Depressing I know, but it happens.
  • Fishing supports the livelihoods of more than 520 million people worldwide, so you know, we need to ensure the industry is sustainable.

The stats are disillusioning but as consumers we can do a lot to push things in a more sustainable direction.

And it's not difficult. Mostly it's about learning which seafood species are more sustainable and choosing to buy those instead. And it's about consuming seafood mindfully and respectfully, not wasting, not over-consuming.

So, if you want to get involved with the campaign, here's how:

Sign up to host a dinner party
Get your mates together during 7-14th of October and host a sustainable seafood dinner party. Hosts receive a free pack including everything they need to put on a snazzy dinner, including a Sustainable Seafood e-Cookbook, placemats, coasters and a bunch of useful pocket guides etc.

Get your free e-Cookbook
Everyone who signs up gets a free Give a Fork! Sustainable Seafood e-Cookbook (which has been my baby for the past few weeks), featuring 21 seafood and vegetarian recipes as well as easy-to-wrap-your-head-around facts about seafood, sustainability and our oceans. Here's a peek:

Raise some moola 
Ask your friends to donate what they would've spent on a night out. The money raised will help ST to continue building a fair and sustainable food system by empowering people to make food choices that are better for the environment, farmers, animals, as well as our own health. And so you know, ST provides free and helpful resources, educational events and supports sustainable development projects locally and abroad

Top fundraising dinner parties will get some cool prizes: 

1st Prize 
A bounty of treasure to share: Mount Zero biodynamic olive oil, Demeter Biodynamic brown rice, Robinvale Demeter wine and sparkling ginger ale, Murray River Sea Salt, Fowles Wine and a massive selection of Nature's Cuppa organic teas. Valued at well over $600.

2nd Prize 
Neoflam Cookware ‘family plus’ set of three - saucepan, casserole and sauté pan - $500

3rd Prize
KitchenAid Artisan Deluxe Hand Blender - $250

4th Prize
Endota Spa 90 min spa voucher - $185

Can't cook? Eat at a participating restaurant instead
Go here to see the list of restaurants.


That's all folks. As you were. And do let me know if you sign up as a host!


  1. I am that person at a restaurant. Now I've just learnt to go to restaurants that I know serve free range/organic meat.

    1. I just wish I could find more of those restaurants in Melbourne...!

  2. Hi Maria,
    I had a question about what are the healthiest oils to cook with? I have heard some conflicting reports. I know some oils are a general no-go (eg vegetable oil), but have also heard that some oils are best suited to some types of cooking but not others eg olive oil great for you on salads but not great if frying, roasting, stir-frying etc (something about low burn temp, so as soon as you cook with it is cross links?) I swapped to grape seed oil for cooking for a while, but a few weeks back the Sydney Morning Herald had an article suggesting that grape seed oil is really not that good for you? Can you offer me any advice?



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