Icelandic Chefs Association apologises to salmon farmer, Arnarlax

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In September, a mass walk out by Icelandic culinary team over a deal made by the chef’s assocation with its country’s biggest salmon farmers caused uproar. Today they say they regret the descision.

In September, the board of the Icelandic chef’s association decided to terminate their contract with salmon farming company Arnarlax. Subsequently fourteen chefs quit the Icelandic National Culinary Team in protest over a sponsorship deal the National Chef’s Club made with Arnarlax.

In September, 14 members of the culinary team on posted the following on Facebook, criticising his country’s salmon farming industry posting the following on Facebook.

Read more: Icelandic salmon producers Arnarlax: “Right now, there’s a bounty on our heads”

“I as a member of the national culinary team and all of us in the team oppose the decision of the board of the culinary team to make a deal with a company producing salmon in open net pens. Such production is a threat to the wild salmon and trout stocks and have a very negative impact on the Icelandic natural environment. I only use products produced in a sustainable manner in harmony with nature and I cannot take part in presenting products, on the behalf of Iceland, that are produced in this manner. I have decided to pull out of the team for the time being.”

Most of the chefs have apologised, for the post.

Arnarlax has been “unfairly treated”. CEO Kristian Matthiasson pictured PHOTO: Sharon Olsen

But in an extraordinary move, the Icelandic Chefs Association say that the salmon farmer has been “unfairly criticized because of this matter” due to a misundertsaning and that the association “offer Arnarlax our apologies for the inconvenience this might have caused.”

The press release said that “the Icelandic Chefs Association and Arnarlax have reached an agreement regarding a matter that arose in the aftermath of a cooperation agreement between the Icelandic Culinary Team and Arnarlax. The Chefs Association, that manages the Culinary Team and their projects, decided in a formal meeting, where this course of events was discussed, that the members of the Association would conclude a settlement with Arnarlax that both parties have now signed.”

“Farmed salmon is used all over the world and is a first-class material and one might mention that comparable product is used at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg and other respectable events.”

CEO, Kristian Matthiasson said that accepted the apology. “But we still think it’s a shame that young skilled chefs were pulled into a debate about salmon farming, which is beyond their control. We wish the team well in the future and will consider whether we can collaborate in other venues in the future,” he wrote in an email to SalmonBusiness.