Saturday, October 22, 2011

Food Day: New York Supports Sustainable Seafood

Food Day, which I wrote about yesterday, has its inaugural event on Monday, October 24th, and is all about bringing attention to the "good food" movement that so many of us have been working on in New York and around the country.  

Over the years I've noticed that school food, farmers markets and pasture raised, grass-fed meat, and other "know your farmer know your food" efforts receive a lot more attention than "know your fisherman know your seafood", "sea to table" and other sustainable seafood enterprises get.  

I got an email yesterday from food writer and marketer Michelle Kiefer. Michelle works for Brooklyn-based Sea to Table. She wrote to let me know about their participation in Monday's FOOD DAY celebration at Mario Batali's Eataly, a 50,000 square foot European-style market.

After clicking through their website, I realized the reason that I had never heard of Sea to Table, a NYC direct-to-chef seafood company that connects small-scale fisherman and their fresh wild catch with restaurants, IS because I'M NOT A CHEF!!! That's when the dreaming started.  

In my dream life, I'd cook in a restaurant. I'd wear bright turquoise colored plastic clogs (think Mario Batali's trademark orange Crocs). I'd serve local, seasonal foods, and sustainably raised meats. I'd have a close relationship with my seafood purveyor -- Sea to Table perhaps -- and buy fish from the docks in Montauk as well as feature sustainably caught and fresh fish from Maine, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico on my menu.

Montauk Fisherman Kevin O'Malley with Fluke Montauk  Fisherman (photo courtesy of

Today's Catch - Rod and Reel Caught Bluefish from Montauk
What struck me about Sea to Table is their "wild, sustainable and direct" business model which connects small scale fishermen using traditional methods for catching fish such as rods, lines and hooks, and hand held rakes (vs. industrial fishing which uses miles-long nets and bottom draggers that destroy our oceans) with chefs across the country. Many of these chefs run top notch restaurants (see the list below) and their customers appreciate the superior quality of a fish caught with a hook and line and are willing to pay for it. 

Via it's online "from the dock" web page, similar to the farmers market and community supported agriculture direct sales model, Sea to Table allows more of the profit to go into the fisherman's pocket because the direct to chef supply chain significantly reduces the number of people who handle the catch.
Join Sea to Table at Eataly 
Monday, October 24th 
11 am and 4 pm  
Learn about and taste Maine lobsters
200 Fifth Avenue (at 23rd Street)

I hope you'll get over to Eataly and visit with the folks from Sea to Table. 

Thank you Michelle for bringing my attention to this cutting-edge distributor to my attention. See you at Eataly!  I'll be the one looking for Mario Batali and his bright orange Crocs.

Sea to Table distributes to these fine restaurants in New York City (thanks for getting me the list, Michelle): ABC Kitchen, Back Forty, Bobo, Brooklyn Larder, The Cleaver Co. and Green Table, David Burke Townhouse, Del Posto, Eataly, Egg, Esca, Fat Radish, Felidia, Hung Ry, Inside Park at Saint Bart's, Isa, Lot 2, Lupa, Marea, Momo Sushi Shack, Minetta Tavern, Palo Santo, Quality Meats, Resto, Terrapin.

Download Long Island's Blue Ocean Institute's FishPhone app and learn more about which species are endangered and you should avoid and those that are abundant and sustainable when caught responsibly.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi - the movie (click here for the trailer) - a great movie about Tokyo's top sushi chef, sustainable purchasing and the need to manage our oceans. 
From Tribeca Film Festival, "Jiro Dreams of Sushi  follows 85-year-old master sushi chef Jiro Ono, paying lushly photographed homage to the process of preparing the artisan sushi that earned Ono's esteemed Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant three Michelin stars. From the complicated relationship between Jiro and his sons to the ins and outs of the tuna auction, this spirited film profiles all aspects of Jiro's craft in tantalizing style and detail."

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