Chef Josh Niland made an impression on MasterChef Australia taking contestants through his ‘whole fish’ approach to fish butchery, but the cherry on the cake of his television performance was his take on a classic Lamington dessert, using fat from the Murray cod and fish scales instead of coconut.
Niland shows off his considerable knife skills breaking down a Murray cod on the show, but also shows contestants how to make a merguez sausage with the offal from the fish for a rolled-roasted Murray cod main course.
The unexpected twist, however, was when Niland demonstrated how to make an Australian Lamington, a sponge covered in chocolate and dusted with coconut, only in this version the coconut is actually sugared Murray cod fish scales.
Niland is an exceptional talent who is challenging both diners and chefs to think differently about how we use fish. As dwindling sea resources and the need for sustainability become ever more clear to us, Niland’s holistic approach to fish - which respects the entire creature and minimises waste - is an example of how chefs can alter our thinking for the good of the planet.
NiIand is not the first chef to use fish scales as a dessert ingredient, but he is definitely one of the leading culinary voices right now that's challenging accepted food norms.