I start work at 2am to get the best fish

Chamberlain and Thelwell’s business is all about fresh seafood of the highest quality and we focus entirely on that element of the market. We are proud that our wholesale clients are among the most discerning five star hotels, clubs and other worthy institutions in and around London and they rely upon us to be able to respond to their needs and source and deliver the very best. In turn we can only do this as a result of relationships we have established with quality suppliers from around the British Isles over many years. Our work starts at around 2am when we will be talking to suppliers at the coast and taking delivery of our seafood and preparing it, including filleting carried out traditionally by hand by skilled blocksmen. All of this is done in the early hours of the morning before the first delivery goes out at 7am.

Because most of what we source is wild produce, nature and the weather determines supply and we have to judge this and respond daily. Seafood is one of the last remaining wild products and while good farmed products are available, a wild fish’s texture and flavour will reflect its natural habitat and the food and nutrients in the sea around it. The flavours can be quite refreshingly different. This applies equally to shellfish. Imagine the freshness of West Coast Irish oysters, washed over by the fresh waters of the Atlantic. Because we use responsible and sustainable methods to obtain our seafood, this dictates supply. For example, our scallops are hand dived, usually from Sutherland in Scotland, which can mean a person in a wetsuit going out into the Northern Scottish coastal waters to gather them.

This is a skilled and time-consuming task, particularly if the weather is bad. Similarly, responsibly line-caught sea bass will normally involve small day-boat fishermen going out using traditional methods, which ensure they only take out of the sea what they need and do not destroy the natural environment. We think our customers appreciate the provenance of our sourcing – right through from the sea to the plate.