Restaurant closures and export bans are why you may start to see superior quality tuna sashimi hit the shelves of Coles this week at very reasonable prices.
Heidi and Pavo Walker, the duo behind Queensland-based Walker Seafoods, which supplies fresh tuna to some of Australia’s best restaurants including Rockpool Bar & Grill and MoVida, have struck a deal with the grocery chain to sell their sashimi-grade tuna in stores.
Prior to COVID-19, around 80% of the Walker Seafoods tuna was exported to the United States and Japan, with the rest being supplied to the restaurant industry. But export bans and the closure of many restaurants have left the Walkers company with extra tuna to sell.
“We needed a way to keep our boats fishing and 50 staff employed. Two weeks ago I contacted Coles to see if they could help put our tuna in their supermarkets and they jumped at the chance,” Heidi Walker told GoodFood.
From Wednesday, Walker Seafoods’ yellowfin tuna steaks will land in 150 stores throughout New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. At $35 a kilo, it’s around half the cost of sashimi-grade tuna before the pandemic.
“We want the tuna to be accessible to all Australians, while also being ready to support chefs when restaurants reopen. It’s likely we’ll export less,” says Walker of how their business will operate once the curve is flattened.
As for how you should eat your tuna? We recommend sashimi-style — sliced thin and with a dash of soy and wasabi.
Alternatively, you could get creative and make your own poke bowls at home. There’s no shortage of fresh vegetables right now, and even an influx of avocado, so we can’t think of a better time to get tossing.
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.