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Thursday, March 30, 2023
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Chef Niki of Fishy People

For this true north tale I got to sit down with Chef Niki of Fishy People and we talked about Fishy People’s new business venture down in Old Town, and how there are so many more ways to cook up a fish than people realize. To start off our chat Niki tells us how she ended up in Yellowknife.

This is actually a fantastic story that I have been telling in the pub for quite some time, so I’ve been traveling the world since I was about 18, and never say longer than six months anywhere I bounced around all over the place. I looked at, where’s the easy place to get a working holiday visa and Canada popped up. So, I applied for the visa popped over here, it took about three weeks, and I was staying down in Alberta, I mean Alberta didn’t really get long jumped on the good old internet again and I Googled, what is the biggest adventure you can have in Canada, and one of the articles that popped up was a story about the Arctic, and I had this little lightbulb moment and I was like “oh my god, you can just you can just go to the Arctic here”, so I did, I landed two days before New Year’s, about four o’clock in the afternoon, it was pitch black and minus 40 and I went, oh god, I’ve made a mistake,

After adjusting to the minus 40 Niki realized something

It blew my mind that no one’s doing anything with fish out here we have Bullock’s Bistro of course, which is phenomenal. But there’s big gaps in the market I found

Three years ago when Fishy People started at the farmers market with Fish On The Bay, they debuted their now popular fish sausage, Chef Niki gives us a bit of a history lesson on how the fish sausage came to be.

My grandfather used to make Pāua sausages, which a Pāua is an Abalone, and they were terrifying to look at but they were absolutely delicious, and also just something that’s very approachable. I thought and so in trying to find a market for this fish that no one wants to eat, I thought that I would manipulate it into a different shape, and that way as well you can sort of not mask but take away that intensely fishy flavor that you get from some oily fish and the fish, the fish sausage was born

Recently Fishy People bought and renovated a restaurant down on McDonald Drive in Old Town, and they’ve opened up the first plan part of the space called The Garden, which is a relaxing hangout spot located right there on the water where you can take in the great view and enjoy some Fishy People’s delicious food. Here’s chef Niki talking about what’s next for Fishy People’s new business venture after opening up The Garden.

Once that kicks off and we get a bit of a bit more of a following we’ll open up the restaurant portion of it, which is going to be called a Fin Dining, it’s the word fine with the E crossed out because we are fancy but not too fancy. And once that one’s rolling as well we’ll open what has been the end goal this entire time which is a little fish shop so a brick and mortar place where Yellowknife can come and buy fresh fish you don’t have to go and seek out your fisher we’ll have fresh fish all the fish products ready to eat ready to go. Everything you can imagine, because there’s so much more to a fish than just the fillet

Niki has called Yellowknife home for five years and I asked Niki, what is it about Yellowknife compared to everywhere else she’s been it’s made her stick around this long.

I have never found a sense of community, like I have up here, I’ve never ever had the friendships that I have, I’ve never had the support and the seeing the joy and felt the energy of a community like I have here this is a very very special place and I think we’re all very lucky to be here.- Chef Niki McKenzie of Fishy People

Listen to the Full TNT Here!

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