The Fishmonger’s Art

Tuna FilletingYears ago every chef of a decent caliber was a Fishmonger and they knew how to break down their own whole fish into fillets. Chefs were intimately familiar with the different skeletal patterns of the various species which they served, and they knew how to get the most yield out of each type of fish.

Today, the Fishmonger’s art in the kitchen is fading away. Most professional Fishmongers only exist at the seafood processing level, where almost all of our fish is filleted, skinned, and even portioned for us by the big seafood houses, then shipped to our restaurants. Although this is convenient, and can save on labor costs and perhaps even on actual yield costs (because of their expertise), it is sad that we, as chefs, are losing this skill.

If you’re among the few chefs who still order either whole fish, or loins of large fish, then I applaud you! To be successful at running your own Fishmonger program at your restaurant you need the technical skill to fillet various fish correctly, and you need the business knowledge to know the yield percentage you will get so that you can correctly price your menu.

This fish filleting log and yield percentage form will help track the skill level of your filleters, and also give you an indication of how different sized fish have different yields and how that impacts your food cost. For instance, I’ve found that H&G 10/20 Halibut have a poor yield compared to H&G 20/40 Halibut and therefore I always ask for the 20/40 size.

Fish Fillet Yield Chart for Fishmongers

Fish Fillet Yields Form example

For comparison to standard yields check-out the Fish Fillet Yields page which lists a large variety of industry standard yields for various fish.


The Fish Fillet Log & Chart is available to all Paid Member Levels
(get membership info)

Microsoft Excel required (not included)


Comments from before Site Migration

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FRANK MCPHILLIPS []    [ Aug 08, 2014 ]

Great info. Dave! As usual!!!. Thank you for consistently providing great resources. Not only for professionals, but for our “up and coming” who most surely need to know these things in order to hone their skills.

All my best Chef B. Take Care my friend!!


DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Aug 08, 2014 ]

Thanks for the comment Chef Chris – Yes, there is such a chart, and it is on this site! It doesn’t give maximum yields, but it does give average yields and in some cases a range of yields. You can find the fish yields chart here.

CHEF CHRIS MENENDEZ []    [ Aug 08, 2014 ]

Great info Chef! Do you have info on what the yields should be? For instance,if you are breaking down a whole salmon and cutting it into boneless portions what is the expected yield? Let say for arguments sake that I achieved a 65% yield from a whole salmon. Can you give me the maximum yield? So if the maximum yield is 70% then I know that I can improve 5% more, which would help me sharpen my skills and that I should try harder to achieve a better result. Is there such a list of maximum fish filleting yields?


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