Celebrity broadcaster Dermot O’Leary is a catch on any day of the week – but when it comes to promoting the virtues of a sustainable fish dish, the multi-talented TV star is a ‘shore’ thing.
A long-standing friend of Billingsgate Fish Market’s Cookery School and a former fish restaurateur, Dermot genuinely couldn’t be more passionate about his seafood.
He says: “I love mackerel in particular. I’d say they were my favourite fish to cook and eat. They are also pretty rock-and-roll… live fast, die young.”
Attending the latest event for Billingsgate’s ‘Breakfast and Buck’s Fizz’ fundraiser, Dermot shared early fond memories of buying cod’s roe from the local fishmonger, which his dad then fried up with his speciality – homemade chips.
Essex-born Dermot, 45, whose parents hail from County Wessex in Ireland, regaled tales to a small group of guests. Made up of members of the public and corporate day-trippers, visitors attend the frequent Breakfast Club at Billingsgate Market to enjoy talks from celebrity fish fans like Dermot, and seafood superstar CJ Jackson.
CJ is CEO of Billingsgate’s Cookery School, previously VP of Leith’s School of Food and Wine, a food writer, author and regular face on television cookery shows. She praised Dermot’s passion and loyalty to the school – which raises funds to run children’s cookery courses at festivals across the UK. CJ describes Dermot as “extremely knowledgeable” about fish and Dermot tells CJ and the audience how he still loves to fish with friends today – when his busy career allows it!
Says Dermot: “I like mackerel so much for the taste, but they are beautiful to look at and have bulletshaped bodies that dart through the water.”