General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Farmed aquatic species publication named best free culinary book in the world

This award helps to enhance the social acceptability of aquaculture and reinforces the role of the sector in the production of healthy and sustainable food


Farmed aquatic food for all tastes: the journey of twelve Mediterranean and Black Sea species from farms to your plates, a publication recently released by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), received the Best Free Culinary Book in World Award at the twenty-ninth Gourmand World Cookbook Awards ceremony, held in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The publication presents a journey through the Mediterranean and Black Sea aquaculture sector, highlighting its benefits and debunking myths, and showcases the region’s gastronomic traditions, offering details on how to enhance the culinary value of the region’s farmed species. Within its pages, this guide presents twelve species chosen for their importance and potential in the region and emphasizes that farmed aquatic foods can be tasty, healthy and sustainable. Each chapter pairs the story of a successful pioneering producer making waves in the region with an enticing recipe prepared by chefs from Institut Lyfe, in Lyon, France.

Through a combination of text, pictures and recipes, the publication offers a unique guide to the traditions and flavours of the region and features traditional recipes as well as tips from chefs and ingredient pairings that can be used at home to create new recipes.

Working with the GFCM has been a wonderful journey leading to the publication of an outstanding book promoting tasty, healthy and sustainable recipes. It was great to combine our chefs' expertise with that of aquaculture producers from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and to give young talents the opportunity to express their culinary creativity. Congratulations to all and enjoy the tasting!", commented Agnès Giboreau, Director of the Institut Lyfe Research and Innovation Centre.

"Farmed aquatic food for all tastes represents an immense and unprecedented study of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It covers social, economic and geographical information on the aquaculture and food industries, explained in a pedagogical way, showcasing twelve species, from the farm to the plate, with the contribution of experts, farmers and top chefs from the Institut Lyfe Research and Innovation Centre: a masterpiece", said Édouard Cointreau, President and Founder of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

Aquatic foods are a healthy source of protein and their production is a pillar of food security, employment and economic development. With this publication, the GFCM aims to highlight how aquaculture strengthens the region’s culinary heritage, inviting consumers to learn more about farmed species and their gastronomic potential. In this way, the social acceptability of aquaculture is enhanced, a key element to achieving the GFCM strategic objectives and contributing to FAO’s Blue Transformation vision” said Houssam Hamza, GFCM Aquaculture Officer.

©GFCM/Daniel Gillet

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards have been honouring since 1995 the best gastronomy books, printed or digital, as well as food television productions. Winners are selected in the first place at a country level and then by an international jury that determines the Best in the World winners. The awards represent a unique opportunity to build the image of food culture worldwide. Publications from about 70 countries as well as from international publishers and organizations were displayed this year and select nominees in about 150 categories had the opportunity to present their work on stage. The event culminated with an award ceremony which honoured the best works in each category.

This recognition of the GFCM publication by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards also calls attention to the 35 000 farms engaged in aquatic food farming operations and the 500 000 people employed in the sector, either directly or indirectly. Aquaculture plays an important role in offering a source of employment and economic growth, allowing to increase aquatic food production and meet the growing demand for quality food and it is therefore crucial to continue working to enhance the sector while ensuring its social, environmental and economic sustainability.

This year’s awards marked another significant recognition for FAO publications, as The status of women in agrifood systems won the Best Sustainable Food Publication in the World Award. This publication provides a comprehensive picture of the status of women working across agrifood systems, from production to distribution and consumption, shedding light on gender inequalities in terms of working conditions and socioeconomic benefits.

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