Seafood Trends & Sustainable Salmon Farming Practices

According to Foodable Labs data, seafood consumption is up 49.2 percent in consumer mentions year over year. 

But nowadays, consumers want to know where their seafood is coming from. But that isn't always easy for an operator to learn. That's why they depend on finding suppliers who are making sure to keep accurate records of where they are catching their supply of fish. 

On the recent IO Change Makers live stream Foodable Network held in Chicago, we sat down with Moises Del Rio, the general manager of Verlasso’s U.S. operations. 

Verlasso is a leader in the fishing industry due to the company's sustainable salmon farming practices. Del Rio and his team take a hands-on approach and are out in the field meeting with chefs, distributors, and restaurant teams regularly to drive awareness about the quality of the salmon from Verlasso and where it is sourced. 

"Our farms are located in these remote areas where there's literally no population, there's nobody, you have to go to the middle of nowhere to see these farms. So the salmon grows in an area where there's no interference... this allows the salmon to swim with a lot of freedom and develop in the right way," says Del Rio.

Watch the clip above to get more insights on how the company is sourcing its salmon responsibly and then how Verlasso shares this information with their customers. 

Want the full video? It's available exclusively now for On-Demand members. Learn more about Foodable On-Demand now. 

Sustainability-Focused Brands Share Best Practices

Thanks to today's technology and data analytics, we are well aware of the impact we have on our environment. But knowledge is power.

Brands across the country now have teams dedicated to improving sustainable practices, all committed to a larger mission to reduce their carbon footprint.

At the Foodable.io Seattle event, we sat down with three sustainability experts– Jessica Myer, environmental specialist for Ste Michelle Wine Estates, Julia Person, sustainability and manager for Kona Brewing, and Nelly Hand, founder & and fisherman to learn about each of their roles and how their brands are providing eco-friendly solutions.

But to make sure that sustainable practices are being universally used within a business isn't always easy.

"As we grow as a company and our sustainable practices are actually coming into fruition, our biggest challenge is that our locations in eastern Washington and Oregon are very rural, so we don't have access to the recycling seen in Seattle or Portland. The city of Walla Walla (in Washington) doesn't have any glass recycling, which seems insane. But we have to find innovative ways to get our products recycled," says Myer. "Another thing is the plastic challenge. We are having to sometimes paid to recycle our plastic now, which is not necessarily sustainable for a business but we want to make sure we're doing the right thing."

This movement encompasses much more than recycling. There's water conservation, alternative power sources, fishing techniques, and harvesting practices– that all make an impact on our planet and its resources.

Listen to the full episode above to learn more about how these brands are looking for new ways to be more eco-friendly, while also closing the loop on consumers demands around full sustainability and responsibility from all sides.

Underutilized Fish Species: Collaboration and Education Create Balance

Today, consumers across the globe are relying on seafood as a primary source of protein. This has sparked an educational movement to limit overfishing in an effort to promote seafood sustainability. The idea is to use less of an overused species like Salmon, and substitute it with a less familiar and potentially more abundant species, like Pollock.

On this Foodable.io talk, brought to you by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, our Host Daniela Klimsova, and panelists Warner Lew, Taho Kakutani, Taichi Kitamura - explore how we define an underutilized species. They also discuss the need to not only market to chefs and restaurants but to the consumer, who has a significant role to play in a more sustainable future.

Taho Kakutani, a fishmonger at Pike Place Fish Market, leads by saying discussions about sustainability started to stand out about five years ago, which lead the fish market to prioritize seafood sustainability and advocation of the practice.

“There is a need for story...the seafood industry is particularly compelling,” said Kakutani. “From the sea to the table is this amazing journey that’s happening. So when we have these touch points like sustainability...there’s this opportunity to create this really interesting story that I think consumers are really looking for.”

Taichi Kitamura, executive chef and co-owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura, agrees that as chefs, they are responsible for educating consumers on underutilized species being included on their menus.

“I have to be very careful about what I say to my customers, and actually what I practice in terms of what to put on the menus,” said Kitamura. “You really have to be on top of this issue...it wasn’t the news then, but now it’s the news.”

Bristol Bay’s Fleet Manager, Warner Lew, got his start in the 1970s as a deckhand for local fisheries. He now is known as a crusader for getting Americans to eat canned, smoked Alaskan herring. With a nod to chef Taichi Kitamura’s herring sushi dish from a chef’s seminar, he speaks about how a species could become underutilized.

“The herring, it’s...underutilized in this country because few people know how to handle it… [or] how to enjoy it. That’s the trick [when] utilizing the fish, is how do you make it enjoyable and easy,” said Lew.

Mainstream seafood is often overfished and over marketed. Experts all agree that to create a significant change in reducing overfishing of certain species, industry leaders such as fishermen and chefs need to collaborate, educate and expose the underutilized species market to the masses.


Westward's Chef Will Gordon Shares His Matbucha Braised Wild Alaska Pollock Recipe

On this episode of On Foodable, we are featuring Chef Will Gordon, former Executive Chef of Westward, a Seattle restaurant located directly on the north shores of Lake Union. Chef Gordon will be working with wild Alaska pollock, provided by Trident Seafoods, to make a delicious Matbucha Braised Wild Alaska Pollock dish. This is the last episode out of our four-part series of chef demos that were filmed at our Foodable.io Seattle event, sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

About the Dish

Wild Alaska Pollock Braised in Matbucha with Preserved Lemon Cream, Charred Shishito Peppers and Herbs

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.


Ingredients:

  • 6 ea. / skinned, Wild Alaska Pollock Fillets

  • 1 recipe Matbucha

  • Lemon juice

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pt preserved lemon crema

  • 24 ea. medium-sized shishito peppers washed

  • 3 pts mixed pickled herbs: parsley, mint, and dill

  • Finishing salt


Method of Cooking:

This recipe serves 6 people. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Heat up matbucha in two saute pans its oven proof handles (thin with a little bit of vegetable stock, water or tomato juice to the consistency of tomato sauce). When it is at a nice simmer, nestle in three portions of fish per pan, leaving space between each piece. Move to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is just done and flaky.  While the fish is in the oven, blister the shishito peppers in a hot, dry pan until black spots occur, and they are just cooked. Remove to a plate on the side.

After you remove the pans of fish from the oven, gently remove all of your fish to a plate off to the side. Put the matbucha back on the stove and reduce down if it needs it. Add a little olive oil, salt or lemon as necessary to make it taste as you like.  


Plating:

  • To serve, spoon some matbucha on each plate, nestle a few shishitos in the matbucha as well as your fish. Garnish with dollops of the preserved lemon cream and herbs that have been lightly dressed in extra virgin olive oil and salt.

Westward

“Westward is a restaurant with a real sense of place,” says Chef Gordon. “You can sit on the deck there, on the patio and look out and see all of Seattle… and eat oysters or eat a nice piece of fish out of our wood-fired oven and it’s like no where else in the world.”

To hear Will Gordon’s thoughts about what the role of a chef is today and to replicate his delicious sustainable fish dish, follow along by watching the episode above!

Chef David Glass, from Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Demonstrates His Lemon & Thyme Stuffed Wild Alaska Pollock Dish

On this episode of On Foodable, we are featuring Chef David Glass, from Ethan Stowell Restaurants’ Staple and Fancy Mercantile located in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard. Chef Glass will be working with wild Alaska pollock, provided by Trident Seafoods, to make a beautiful Lemon and Thyme Stuffed Wild Alaska Pollock dish. This is the third episode out of our four-part series of chef demos that were filmed at our Foodable.io Seattle event, sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

About the Dish

Wild Alaska Pollock, stuffed with Thyme and Lemon, with Brown Butter Cauliflower and Salsa Verde

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.


Ingredients:

  • 2 ea. / skin on Wild Alaska Pollock Fillets

  • 1 lemon, sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 3 sprigs of thyme

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets 

  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed

  • 1/4 lb butter

  • 1Tbs extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup picked parsley, fried

  • 1/4 cup picked sage, fried

  • 1 lemon, juice of


Method of Cooking:

Take the two skin-on fillets and lay slices of lemon and thyme in between. Tie the fish with butcher’s twine to secure the two filets together. Sear the cauliflower in the olive oil. Add the capers and butter. Allow butter to brown and add the lemon juice to stop the browning process. Grill the fish on both sides (about 4 minutes per side).


Plating:

  • Plate the fish, snipping and carefully removing the twine, and top with cauliflower, caper and butter mix. Top with crispy parsley and sage. 

Staple & Fancy

At Staple and Fancy there’s a focus on seafood and utilizing the abundance of quality local resources that are available to chefs in the city of Seattle. For Chef Glass, sustainability is a personal responsibility.

“As a chef it’s easy to think about today and tomorrow or just cooking for now,” said Chef Glass. “But when we look at the big picture and we look at five years from now…, twenty years from now and the impact of the use of the ingredients we have today on the future it’s important for us to have thought in the product that we use and ensure that we’re using product that is gonna be sustainable and it’s going to be available for our children.”

Essentially, he would hate “for species to become extinct and no one would have the chance to taste them again.”

To replicate this delicious sustainable dish follow along by watching the episode above!