Fishmongering 101

A fishmonger sounds like an ancient trade from the days of yore. You know, just down the road from the blacksmith and the town juggler. But it simply refers to a person that sells you fish.


I was first acquainted with the fishmongers at Hooked Inc. when I was looking for sustainably sourced fish for my first Farmhouse Retreat. The salt baked rainbow trout was a big hit, and my friend Priscilla made note of the fish shop for gift ideas when the time came.

In October, I was surprised with a gift certificate from Priscilla to attend a class of my choice at Hooked. I signed up at my first opportunity and waited patiently until March for my Fishmongering 101 class.

Dan and Kristen opened Hooked Inc. to fill a void in fish markets supporting truly sustainable sourcing practices. Although fishmongers are plentiful in Toronto, few have the dedication to learning who caught that fish, and exactly how.

At the long awaited Fishmongering 101 class, I learned how to gut, fillet, and perfectly pan fry a couple fish (a branzino and rainbow trout), and they even packed away our leftover fillets with all the necessary ingredients to replicate the meal the next day. We watched Kristen fillet a halibut (did you know it was halibut season?) and she also showed us how to make a delicious dill riesling sauce.

It's amazing how simple, challenging, and satisfying it was to fillet the fish. Chinese cuisine usually leaves the fish whole; my mom was an expert gutter and descaler, but I never learned how to properly fillet a piece of fish.

Since taking the class in March, I've been playing with options for how to fit fish fillets into my menu for the summer farmhouse retreat. Do we do a light fish lunch? Or add it to the summer bbq on Saturday night?! First world problems...

I highly recommend this class at Hooked Inc. and am hoping to take another class one day, but you need to keep an eye out for the class postings! They like to keep the classes small, and taught by the best, so they don't come out often! In the meantime, visit their locations in Leslieville or Kensington Market and feast on some of the freshest, most ethically sourced seafood in town!