JAMIE Oliver will champion Scottish seafood in a new TV series – despite continuing to use Vietnamese prawns at his restaurants.
The celebrity chef, who visited Aberdeen for the first time a few months ago, is set highlight the massive volume of Scottish seafood which is shipped abroad in a new show next year.
He will encourage viewers to eat more of the catch landed in Scots ports, hoping to “get people excited” about local produce.
But his restaurant chain Jamie’s Italian will continue to use prawns shipped from over 6,000 miles away.
His popular eateries can be found in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, and use a range of “fresh, carefully sourced and seasonal ingredients” in their dishes.
The £13.50 prawn linguine, which features on the pasta menu, currently uses seafood sourced from Vietnam.
A spokeswoman for the chain said: “There are a few reasons behind why we are not able to use local prawns right at the moment.
“The product changes throughout the seasons and so finding a farm to produce the consistent high volume of prawns we need becomes very tricky.
“We have however been looking for a local option as that’s obviously the route we would like to go down.”
It has been suggested that Asian prawns are perhaps more suited to Italian cuisine as they are firmer in texture and less likely to break up in cooking.
Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, said: “Scottish-caught langoustines are one of the most delicious types of shellfish found anywhere in the world and we would wholeheartedly support moves to promote their versatility in the kitchen and for their greater use in restaurants.”
The new TV series, Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, will air on Channel 4 early in 2016.
A spokesman for the chef said he and his co-presenter Jimmy Doherty “meet two Scottish fishermen who say 95% of their catch is shipped to Europe as there is no market at home”.
The pair will showcase Scottish langoustines to influential food bloggers and journalists, and it is understood that celebrities such as Orlando Bloom and David Tennant are lined up to appear on the show.