Blog: seafood

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Many Americans now know the names of the farms that grow their food, but even as we’re urged to eat more seafood for its health benefits, few of us can identify local species or the fishing operations that supply them. The time is ripe for local fish. Please join @bamco and @seafoodwatch for a Twitter chat on Monday, September 24, at 12pm Pacific.

To galvanize the U.S. government to set labeling and inspection standards, Oceana has launched a Stop Seafood Fraud campaign with a letter for chefs and restaurant owners to sign, asking for stricter seafood regulations. The letter was unveiled Monday, May 14, in Washington, DC, in an event featuring “The Office” star Angela Kinsey, a seafood advocate, and renowned sustainable seafood chef Barton Seaver. Oceana reached out to Bon Appétit to ask for our support, and we’re proud that about 20% of the names on Oceana’s list of 300 chefs and restaurant owners are Bon Appétit Management Company ones, alongside such culinary leaders as Rick Bayless, Eric Ripert and Michael Symon.

Recently I met two very different Farm to Fork suppliers for Bon Appétit accounts in North Carolina — about as different as you’d expect a fish distributor and a beef rancher to be. Yet they had one key thing in common that made partnerships with our teams work.

Every February for the past 31 years, thousands of fans flock to Santa Cruz’s Beach Boardwalk to sample clam chowder for a good cause. This year, colleagues from Bon Appetit joined forces to support one of their own, Chef de Cuisine Kevin Means, as he presented his award-winning Boston recipe.

The Eat Local Challenge has become one of my favorite celebrations each year. While many of our usual holidays come with prescribed dishes, such as turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving, brisket and matzoh ball soup for Passover, and cookies topped with red and green sprinkles for Christmas, the Eat Local Challenge menu is always different — year to year, chef to chef, and region by region. The challenge is to create an whole menu where every ingredient (except for salt) comes from within 150 miles. While this is no easy task, I also find the challenge to be encouraging. Whether a chef or an eater, it encourages everyone to explore unusual flavors – found on our local farm and range lands and in our forests, lakes, and oceans, to learn about new producers, and tap into our inner creative spirit.

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Helene York, Bon Appétit’s director of strategic initiatives, recently visited Alaska, where she was speaking at Global Food Alaska’s biennial summit of producers from all parts of the food supply chain. Being Helene, she turned the trip into a jam-packed opportunity to learn all she could about the Alaskan seafood industry.

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In my last vlog, I talked about a few food issues that stand out to me as some of the bigger challenges we face. In this vlog, I talk about two of those issues—the depletion of wild seafood and climate change—and give suggestions of what we as consumers can do to make a difference.

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Most of my work for Bon Appétit this past month and a half has been research-oriented. Since I’m going to be working with farmers and speaking to students about issues of food sustainability, I need to understand the issues themselves well. Here are a few facts I’ve learned thus far… More to come in my next vlog!

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A reporter I worked with once complained that, whenever he did a story about food, there was always something “new” he wasn’t supposed to eat. With the launch of sustainable sushi pocket guides this month, sushi is now coming under serious scrutiny. Suddenly, there are “new” items on the conscientious eater’s list to avoid. The problem with sushi is that most, by volume, is limited to shrimp, tuna, salmon and eel. You might think twice about eating salmon sushi if you know there’s no such thing as sustainably-raised farmed salmon (most salmon, sake, and its roe, ikura, is farmed salmon). And rare is a sushi meal without tuna of some kind. Half of the sushi vendors we surveyed recently were using a sustainable form of tuna; the other fifty percent were not. If you use the sushi guides, they can […]