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Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fishing for our Future

I just recently attended a seminar about Sustainable Seafood which was sponsored by Fortune Fish Company. What was most interesting about the lecture was that the focus was not just focused on the sustainability of our resources, but the sustainability of the American economy.

The speaker, Mark Palicki, explained that most of the seafood that we enjoy in the US is not raised or caught in American waters or farmed on American soil. Most of our seafood is coming from Asia. Because the regulations are so tight in the United States, private fishermen as well as those American entrepreneuers who would like to farm fish are compelled to operate in other countries like Indonesia, Panama, Mexico, and China.

The demand for seafood is great not just in the United States, but also in other countries, especially in Asia. Since much of the world economy has its point of origination in China and other rapidly developing countries, people living in the Far East are now able to afford luxuries (meat & seafood) that they were not able to afford before. Many of these countries no longer see the need or feel the economic pressure to export their farmed fish to other countries, since the food can now be consumed widely there, and at a profit.

We feel the pinch in our pocketbook every time we fill-up at the pump because the global community is so starved for oil. Food and fresh water are commodities, just like oil. During the question and answer portion of the lecture, an audience member asked the speaker how the BP oil spill affected the prices of fish and seafood and the industry as a whole. The answer might shock a lot of people - the speaker said that only about 2% of all fish and seafood in their supply is sourced from that particular region!

There are many things that we can do to not only support the fishermen and seafood companies based in the Gulf of Mexico, but other American fisheries as well. The first thing we can do is to notify our elected officials that this is a topic of great importance to our economy. Urge them to develop our aquaculture industry (such as it is) and to make it a priority so that American businesses can compete, just as many other foreign governments are doing all over the globe.

The second (and easiest) thing we can do is to dine with an open mind. Many people enjoy Atlantic salmon, and I agree that Atlantic Salmon is a very fine fish. However, there are several other underutilized types of fish and seafood that are available and they taste very, very good! When fishermen go out to bring in their catch, they also bring in some other types of fish that they had not intended to catch. These fish are still very delicious, but there is little demand for them in the market because many people are not familiar with them (barramundi, tilefish, etc.)

Many chefs are open to adding some of these lesser-known species to their menus, but are concerned that their patrons will not select these when glancing at the menu. If you dine with a spirit of adventure, you not only help to create a market for this new "catch" but you will also help to support American businesses and help to keep their operations in America.

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Blogger Cristi said...

Are you planning to stock barramundi at Holiday Market? I've been a big fan ever since a trip to Australia 10 years ago and have a hard time finding it here.

January 13, 2011 at 7:42 AM 
Blogger Stacy Sloan said...

Thanks, Cristi!

From time to time, our Seafood manager, Alex Draper, has brought Barramundi in and we've used it in our classes. Call the store and ask him to bring it in more often, they love to know what people are looking for. 248 541 1414.

Thanks for reading the blog!

January 31, 2011 at 2:07 PM 

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