Total time: 9 hours
• Learn and practice various techniques for processing fish;
• Learn and practice a variety of ways to prepare fish;
• Ensure that all trainees are willing and able to eat fish, and provide opportunity for them to taste the fish they are raising;
• Gain experience in group organization and coordination in the implementation of a complicated event;
• Practice interpersonal skills and protocol at a formal social function;
• Express appreciation to members of local community who have provided assistance.
Overview: The fish fry is a multifaceted activity that serves both as a learning experience and as an enjoyable social event and break from the usual routine. The trainees have complete responsibility for everything including planning and organizing, harvesting and processing the fish, cooking, meeting and interacting with invited guests, and clean-up.
1. The trainer who is assigned to supervise the fish fry meets with the trainee fish fry coordinators. The trainee coordinators are informed that they will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the fish fry. The following information, suggestions and requirements should be covered in this meeting:
• Date and location of the fish fry;
• Though they have ultimate responsibility, the coordinators should delegate tasks to the rest of the group. This is best done through the formation of committees, each of which has responsibility for a specific aspect of the fish fry. Submit a written list of committees and their members to the trainer;
• All trainees must take a turn processing fish;
• All trainees must serve on at least one committee;
• Any questions the other trainees have should be addressed to the trainee coordinators. Only the coordinators should make requests of the trainer;
• Coordinators should have a contingency plan for bad weather;
• Fish processing should include scaling and gutting, filleting and butterflying;
• Fish must be prepared in a minimum of four different ways, one of which should be smoking. Other methods and recipes may be determined by the trainees;
• Clear deadlines for submitting shopping lists, requests for equipment, etc.;
• Any restrictions or ground rules regarding use of the kitchen or other facilities, alcoholic beverages, etc. should be discussed. In addition, coordinators may establish their own rules;
• How guests will be invited (trainees may invite them, or it may be preferable to have them submit a list to the trainer and have the staff invite them);
2. Starting about noon on the day of the fish fry, fish are harvested. As they are harvested, they are given to the members of the processing committee and processing also takes place.
As fish are processed, they are given to the cooking committee to be prepared. Those responsible for setting up the site do so - setting out tables and chairs, dishes and utensils, decorations, etc. All preparations of the site should be complete by the time guests begin to arrive.
Fish are prepared in a variety of ways. Smoking is one method of preparation that is required.
All guests are individually greeted as they arrive by at least one or two trainees.
3. Food is served and eaten.
1 1/2 hours
4. After guests have left, the site and all facilities are thoroughly cleaned.
Resources and Materials:
• Fish of edible size and in sufficient quantity (approximately three quarters to one pound live weight per person);
• Harvesting equipment (seines, tubs, buckets);
• Platforms for processing fish (be sure surfaces are protected, can be used for cutting, and can be cleaned sufficiently to provide a sanitary work surface;
• Filet knives, sharpening stones, skinning pliers if using catfish;
• Gloves for protecting hands while processing fish;
• Cooking facilities (should include at least a grill and a smoker. A stove and oven are helpful and allow for more variety in preparation methods;
• Sufficient pots, pans, spatulas, serving pieces, kitchen knives, etc., as required;
• Aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, similar items as requested;
• Refrigeration for food prepared in advance and for storing perishables;
• Sufficient tables and chairs to accommodate all trainees, staff and invited guests;
• Groceries, spices, condiments, etc. as requested by trainees;
• Sufficient dishes, napkins, utensils, cups, tablecloths;
• Cleaning supplies for dishes, tables and site;
• Invited guests may include support staff at training site, resource people who have worked with trainees, local officials, etc.
• One trainer should be assigned to be in charge of this exercise. Trainee coordinators should work only with this trainer to avoid confusion and inefficiency. The trainer should communicate only with the trainee coordinators and should not undermine their authority with the rest of the group;
• For the first fish fry, the trainee coordinators should be the trainees who present the Harvesting, Transport, Processing, Preservation and Preparation seminar;
• The trainer in charge must be completely familiar with all rules regarding the cooking facilities, purchasing procedures for groceries, and all other logistics and restrictions. Since this is a departure from the way meals are normally handled, failure to be well informed can cause problems;
• The trainee coordinators may determine what committees should be formed and how trainees will be assigned to committees (they may choose to assign people, or they may use sign-up lists so people can volunteer, etc.). Suggested committees include, but are not limited to:
• Harvesting committee;
• Processing committee;
• Set-up committee;
• Greeting committee;
• Cooking committee (may be broken down to salad committee, fish committee, side dish committee, dessert committee, etc.);
• Clean-up committee.
Each committee may submit its own list of equipment, food, etc. to the coordinators. The coordinators must compile these lists and give comprehensive requisitions to the trainer;
• Coordinators should submit a complete plan to the trainer several days before the fish fry. This should include a list of committees and a time schedule. Trainees may ask to do some preparation in advance (for example, marinating fish for smoking) and should be permitted to do so if possible;
• For smoking fish, a smoker can be provided, but it is preferable that they use the smoker that was built as part of the Processing and Preservation seminar;
• If available, have trainees fry fingerlings in addition to the larger fish. A trainer may need to show them how to do this.