Poké cook sets up shop along the Souris causeway
P.E.I. tuna to be the star of popular salad-and-seafood dish
A long-time tuna buyer in North Lake, P.E.I., is taking tuna in new directions.
Jason Tompkins and his partner Cara Eastman are now selling poké on Souris beach.
"Kara and I had a chance to go to Australia and Japan in January and every other corner had a poké restaurant," Tompkins said. "So when we saw that the location on the Souris beach became available for rent, we decided to jump in with both feet."
Poké (which rhymes with OK) is a traditional dish from Hawaii that features fresh salad topped with seafood and spiced sauces, served with Asian-style sticky rice.
The couple have just opened their take-out business in a beach-front kiosk along Souris causeway.
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As lobster and snow crab now comes in at the wharf, they're topping up their poké platters with Island-grown greens and fresh local seafood.
The couple cook and prepare the dishes each morning at the commercial kitchen in the community centre on Munn's Road. When bluefin season begins later this summer, the famous P.E.I. tuna will be on the menu too.
'I buy tuna here, I'm going to sell tuna here'
Tompkins has been buying tuna for the past 18 years and is jumping into another new business venture as well.
This month he'll break ground on a handling facility in North Lake, where bluefin tuna will be hand cut according to traditional Japanese methods.
"Traditionally fish have been trucked off to Boston or New York or flown off to Los Angeles or Tokyo and the processing happens away," Tompkins said.
Why not bring those jobs back home?— Jason Tompkins
"Why not bring those jobs back home?"
Traditional Japanese sushi knives will be used in the "cut house," as Tompkins calls it, employing three to five people to start. He'll export to overseas markets, and freeze some for sale in the off-season. He also intends to seek federal certification to allow sales to Canadian grocery store chains.
"I live here, I buy tuna here, I'm going to sell tuna here. So let's do the value-added here, too," Tompkins said.
Funding assistance for the $330,000 facility is coming from the federal and provincial governments.
It's slated to be ready to go in August as tuna season gets underway.