I was delighted to be one of the "industry thought leaders" presenting at the conference part of the International Boston Seafood Show. This show is huge. Over 17,000 buyers and sellers from more than 90 countries, and nearly 900 exhibitors, attend this event.
I presented a panel discussion about new tools, resources and issues in the sourcing of sustainable seafood. Teach a Chef to Fish, based on my workshops of the same name, saw an engaged and enthusiastic group of chefs, conservation advocates and restaurateurs grapple with the challenges facing responsible restaurants and chefs.
A buddy in the business had warned me my time slot (Tuesday AM) was deadly. “That’s the last day of the conference, people are either gone or hungover.” I began my introduction by sharing that insight and thanking those in attendance for coming. I held up a handful of Tylenol packets and promised party favors for the audience.
I was thrilled to have Barton Seaver, noted sustainability guru, chef, restaurateur and one of the earliest supporters of my Teach a Man to Fish blog event on the panel. Barton's coined a new term for expanding our way of thinking about Sustainability. Seeking to engage people in more thoughtful conversations and contemplation of what sustainability means, he has begun to use the term “restorative” seafood or “restorative cuisine.” He added, “The best thing that can happen for sustainable seafood is vegetables.” To save fish, eat it less. This sparked a discussion about diners’ expectations and chefs’ roles in shaping how we perceive value on the plate. Chef owner of Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, Bun Lai, added that his favorite roll to serve is “Kiss the Smiling Piggy” which showcases sweet potato! His cuisine is cutting edge and he made the commitment to remove un-sustainable sushi from the menu, making Miya’s the first restaurant on the East coast to serve sustainable sushi. Miya’s now joins Tataki, Mashiko and Bamboo the three West Coast sustainable sushi bars in the growing, national trend.
Another panelist who joined us was Andy Husbands chef owner of Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel. In addition to being an International Barbecue champion, Andy is a long-time supporter of Share our Strength and of sourcing local, sustainable food. Andy encouraged the audience to consider the social and economic aspects of sustainability including supporting local fishermen like the ones who bring him his cod. Another lively discussion ensued about how to encourage accountability amongst cod fishermen, and the movement toward reducing the impact of cod fishing on the environment. What about Marine Stewardship Council certifications? Have they lost their teeth? What about big-box stores? Is it better or worse that chains like Target are adopting the MSC label? Many topics were raised for consideration by the knowledgeable audience members.
The turnout was double what I’d anticipated and my audience of 27 or so included Braddock Spear of Sustainable Ocean Project, Marcela Gutierez of WildCoast Wildlife Conservation, Wade Wiestling VP of Culinary Development for Oceanaire Seafood Room restaurants, Chandon Clenard of Pacific Catch Fresh Fish Grill in San Francisco, Casson Trenor sustainable sushi consultant to Bun Lai’s Miya’s Sushi, Tataki Sushi Bar and Mashiko's; and Mary Ganchoff (formerly Smith of Plitt Seafood, part of my Chicago workshop - now blogging for SeafoodSource.com), Beth Poole Exec Dir of Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association, and see what Fiona Robinson Editor in Chief SeaFood Business had to say in Seafood Source, Chefs can direct sustainable seafood movement.
In the back of the room were GC/BO brochures, ASMI’s new Sustainability in Plain English brochures, and Australis Barramundi information. People picked up info on their way out. I wrapped with a list of links and resources and shared my hopes that this would be the start of conversation.
Resources referenced and discussed are included on this flashdrive, below:
- Chefs Collaborative’s Seafood Solutions Report
- Green Chefs/Blue Ocean self-study course
- Australis Barramundi a model of healthy, sustainable aquaculture separate presentation by Carol Devine
- Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Sustainable Seafood Spice Pantry Chart
- and more!
? To receive your reusable Teach a Man to Fish flashdrive including my slides from this International Boston Seafood Show presentation please send me your mailing information and a $15 payment to my PayPal account to cover the cost of the flash drive and shipping. Any additional donations toward supporting this blog are always welcome.
Some shots of the show:
What did you learn? What questions remain? What would you like to see me address next time?
Read what others are saying about my panel, here International Boston Seafood Show - Coverage of Teach a Chef to Fish.