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By Brenda Ward
Lee Fish is a small-town fishmonger in New Zealand, but the company has created a global reputation for delivering the finest fish in the shortest time, to top restaurants around the world.
At Michelin-starred restaurants around the world today, chefs will be opening packaging to reveal fish from New Zealand waters, delivered from Rodney-based Lee Fish.
With clear eyes and pink gills, these fish look and taste no different from those freshly caught and delivered on plates that evening to Auckland or Christchurch diners.
Using a series of innovative preservation techniques and quick turnaround times, Lee Fish ensures that a chef in Los Angeles can be preparing a fish caught in New Zealand in under 24 hours.
Says Lee Fish chief executive Greg Bishop: “The fish we take is of very high quality, taking as little from Tangaroa as we can. Our values are sustainability, respect, loyalty, family. That comes through in how we treat our people, catch, handle, and sell our products.
“A dozen Michelin-starred restaurants use our fish. For the fish [species] that we catch, ours are the best in the world.”
Lee Fish prides itself on its sustainable fishing practices and century-old traditions, using long lines and ‘iki-jime’, a process which kills the fish instantly, preserving freshness and taste.
“Kaitaiki is about guardianship and how we care for this country and our resources. This is the most environmental way of taking fish.”
Los Angeles restaurant Leona, one of the LA Times’ 101 Best Restaurants of 2017, is supplied by Lee Fish. Chef Nyesha Arrington says: “I have a clear vision of how I want something, what’s the most respectful way to care for a product, a piece of fish.
“With Lee Fish products, I know exactly what I’m going to get – impeccable fish every single time. It inspires me to create. My responsibility is to celebrate that life.”
Lee Fish has a head office in Leigh, north of Auckland, and offices in Auckland, Switzerland, California, and Singapore. It’s a great example of how a global platform is important to the international success of a small business.
The demands of running this complex global business from New Zealand meant Lee Fish chose to use Xero’s cloud technology and real-time data, which ensures that every fish can be tracked back to who caught it, which boat it was caught on, where it was packaged, and how it travelled.
“We’re racing the clock, to get that fish across the world and on a plate as quickly as we can. We need accounting software that can keep up with that,” says Bishop.
“We’re all just completely and deeply passionate about what we do and that’s why we like to use Xero to run our business.”