expanded their horizons and spread the
burden of overfishing over a larger net.
Next thing you know, you might start seeing a greater variety at the fish shop.
Chef Brown learned to fish by his grandmother’s house
on the bay in Sea Isle, N.J., where his uncle owned boats.
He fished off the pier for flounder, and when he got old
enough, he boated in search of bluefish and tuna.
STEWARDSHIP FOR ALL SEASONS
Restaurants like Hook introduce diners
to breeds of fish, but it’s the fish shops that
keep them popular. So when a big player
takes a stand, customers get educated.
Whole Foods Market, for example, did
not sell Chilean sea bass in any of its stores
for seven years, says David Pilat, the national seafood coordinator. The company
reintroduced it recently after finding a
small fishery in the South Georgian Islands near Antarctica that is certified by
the Marine Stewardship Council, a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible fishing.
Chilean sea bass is the one fish that
many chefs—even those who aren’t social
activists—won’t serve. Take Jeff Raider,
the chef at Valley Restaurant at the Garrison in Garrison, N. Y. He works with a
farmer to select the produce they grow
on the grounds of the restaurant and
orders Hudson Valley meats and eggs
from neighboring farms. He used to work
at the Sea Grill in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center, and he is very deft at cooking
fish. But he’ll never serve Chilean sea bass
“You have to do your part,” he says.
“There’s a price. You want the populations to come back.”
Chef Richard Hamilton of the
recently opened Restaurant Local in Easton, Md.,
is a member of the Chefs
Collaborative, which promotes sustainable cuisine.
He uses farmed shrimp
and oysters, and buys
other fish depending on
what is in season.
“As chefs we are
responsible, not only to
our guests, but to the
“We as chefs are responsible, not only
to our guests but to the environment,” he
says. “We decide what we sell or cook. We
can decide how much, from where and
how often we cook or sell something. It’s a
responsibility we have, so our children and
their guests can cook the same things we
can and enjoy the same foods we do.”
Brown, of White Dog Cafe, recently
cooked a sustainable seafood dinner for
an event for Slow Brown is familiar enough with the tech-
Food, the interna- niques of fishing. His grandmother had a
tional organization house on the bay in Sea Isle, N.J., and his
formed to “counter- uncle always owned boats. He’d fish off the
act fast food and fast pier for flounder and, when he got older,
life.” (Slow Food take the boat out for bluefish and tuna dur-also organizes an ing the season.
event in Italy called Slow Fish.) Yes, fish have seasons.
Brown served pole-caught ahi tuna Brown gets a fax from Ecofish, one of
tartare with lemongrass, ginger, yuzu and his suppliers, telling him exactly where the
a quail egg; Monterey Bay squid stuffed fish is coming from throughout the year.
with mortadella and braised in a guiancale- “Each river, each stream,” he says. “I can
tomato sauce; and local sea bass. follow the season as it moves up the state.”
He made sure the tuna was caught by And though the seasonal fishing is
hand and that the squid was caught in a not as well understood as the eat-local
sustainable manner, using lights to lure the movement, people are starting to come
oldest ones to the top of the water. around—slowly.