The tide is changing. Fresh fish is no longer the "must have" item for top chefs. In the same way exotic fruit is falling off menus and being replaced by once-considered-boring local apples, frozen at sea fish is "in" for chefs in the know. Our chefs at Bon Appetit Management Company are leading that charge.
When we announced the Low Carbon Diet internally in 2007, one of the purchasing initiatives we thought might give the chefs pause was the move towards fish frozen at sea. Our first choice remains regionally procured fresh seafood but if that’s not possible, we argued, well-handled frozen fish is preferable. Not only does freezing fish at sea eliminate the need to air-freight the product, it can actually better preserve the flavor. Director of the Bon Appetit Management Company Foundation Helene York made this proclamation at five regional meetings of our staff and each time waited to be pelted with heirloom tomatoes thrown by angry chefs. None came.
Our chefs quickly understood the environmental benefits of reducing air-freight and were up to the culinary challenge of using frozen fish. I’ve had an opportunity to taste some of their efforts in the ensuing year and they’ve been delicious! No compromising on flavor here.
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s annual Cooking for Solutions event, our CEO Fedele Bauccio touted the use of frozen at sea fish from the stage while speaking on a panel. His remarks caught the ear of panel moderator Juliet Eilperin, also a Washington Post writer. Today she published a great story on this new eco-culinary trend. The piece, entitled Can Chefs Cozy Up to Frozen Fish?, quotes chefs all over the country talking about how they’ve changed their menus. We’re proud to be in the company of Alton Brown, Barton Seaver, and Rick Moonen. Most of all though, we’re proud of our chefs!
Dory Ford, executive chef at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, conducted a culinary demonstration at Cooking for Solutions. Photo credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium / Randy Wilder
– Maisie Greenawalt, Vice President