Chris Doumouras, the fishmonger, is the “landlubber” member of the George Town Seafoods crew, who quickly admits that the fishing boat is not the place for him. Instead he is at his best as the fishmonger of the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market with a passionate commitment to ensuring the fish he sells is treated with the respect it deserves.
Chris will quickly tell you what he is not. He is not the skipper of the fishing boat that works the seas around Tasmania. He is not the George in the name, that honour belongs to his father and the town where the business is based. He is not a chef or a talker although he will tell you just how to perfectly prepare and cook a fillet of fish that might have a familiar name or be something out of the ordinary. What Chris is though, as anyone who has stood in the early morning queue snaking across the Saturday market can attest to, is a purveyor of fine fish that is treated with enormous respect and care.
Chris describes himself as a “solid ground person” who prefers being on land to working on the sea, but this “inexperience as a fisherman” is washed away by his years in the seafood trade and his commitment to and respect for the sea and its bounty.
His father, George came to Australia in the 1960’s from Greece. In 1993 he settled in George Town and started the seafood business. Chris had graduated high school and left the island for the big city, working at the Melbourne fish markets where he quickly learned from the ground up about the competitive retail environment. It was not until he returned to Tasmania to join his father that he accumulated his extensive knowledge and understanding of local seafood. He said he was looking for more of a challenge and came back to Tassie in 2001 knowing very little about fish. However experience has been his best teacher. “It is only through hands on involvement that one really gets to know and understand fish and seafood, one develops a feeling for freshness.”
His response to a question about his favourite fish is met with a smile and adamant statement that there is no such thing as a “best fish”. Respect for all fish and the sea as provider is the undercurrent that drives him to share his prodigious knowledge with his customers that all fish is worthy.
After joining the Harvest Launceston community he noted a disinterest in some types of fish but Chris is steadfast that all food from the sea must be respected, caught to ensure that there is no damage and no waste by taking only what is needed. For Chris this is the only way to ensure that the oceans that surround the island state of Tasmania can continue to provide. His commitment to his customers is to ensure that those fish with unfamiliar names are respected and over the years his infectious enthusiasm means more unusual varieties have become firm favourites among his customers. Although flathead has always been popular, Chris has succeeded in convincing marketgoers that latchet, gem fish and many others are just as delicious on the plate.