My story


Customers sometimes tell me that they brought a suitcase of tinned fish back with them from their last Portuguese holiday. And they’ve come to me because they’ve just run out. I like that, because it’s how I started The Tinned Fish Market. Except that I brought two suitcases back with me. 

That was in Liverpool in 2018. Tinned fish had a bad rep in the UK then, but people were straight away intrigued by the tins. The brightly coloured, retro packaging was drawing them in and the delicious contents brought them back. Sheila Dillon asked if I’d started a tinned fish revolution when she visited The Tinned Fish Market headquarters (my living room) in Liverpool at the start of 2019 with Radio 4’s The Food Programme. I was inspired by the idea.

And now it’s happened. Today there’s a passion for high quality tinned fish that was not here before. I have a stall in London’s iconic food market, Borough Market - not far, by the way, from where the canning industry began in Bermondsey. I help keep shelves in delis and food halls here and overseas, including Selfridges in Oxford Street, colourfully stocked. I’m working with more and more artisanal, often family-run canneries in Portugal, Scandinavia, the UK and my home country Spain. Many are unheard of here, and raising their profiles has become one of the most enjoyable parts of what I do. I look for canneries that work with small batches of seasonally caught fish, that have sustainability and style at their hearts, and whose product is top notch.

And when I’m not at work? I’m a passionate cook and foodie so you’ll find me at home dreaming up recipe ideas -  but to be honest - and don’t tell anyone this - I think the less you do with the tins the better.

Patrick Martinez