Seattle's Chef John Sundstrom Breaks Down a Spanish-Styled, Braised Wild Alaska Pollock Dish

On this episode of On Foodable, we are featuring Chef John Sundstrom, owner of Lark Restaurant in Seattle, who will be working with wild Alaska pollock, provided by Trident Seafoods, to make a rustic Spanish-styled dish. This is the first 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

Braised Wild Alaska Pollock with Tomato, Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.


Ingredients:

  • Wild Alaska Pollock Fillets

  • 2 cup Small Yukon Gold Potatoes

  • 3 ea. Garlic Cloves, cracked

  • Vegetable Stock

  • 2 qt. Water

  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt

  • 2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Fleur de Sel

  • Pimenton

  • Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley

  • Seasoning: Pepper, Smoked Paprika


Method of Cooking:

To begin preparing the sauce for the Spanish-styled stew, sauté diced onions in olive oil until light golden. Then, add the sliced garlic, and cook until softened. While that is cooking start simmering some fingerling potatoes until they are tender in another pot with salted water, crushed garlic, and a couple branches of thyme. To continue with the sauce, add some white wine to stop the cooking process. As the reduction settles down, add really ripe, rough-diced tomatoes to the saute pan, add kosher salt and pepper as it simmers. Don’t forget to season your wild Alaska pollock fillets with some salt and pepper before you add it to the sauce. You will simmer until cooked for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add a splash of more white wine and vegetable stock. Also, add some fresh thyme, a pinch of rosemary, and smoked paprika. Finally, remove from heat, then serve or cool.


Plating:

  • Smash potatoes (skins on) with a fork to crush open.

  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel

  • Spoon braised pollock and sauce over the top.

  • Sprinkle on a little more pimenton and parsley leaves

 

Lark Restaurant

Sundstrom is the chef and owner of Lark Restaurant, which has been around for 15 years now.

“We were one of the first restaurant that were really able to celebrate underutilized species and cuts of meats and fish that were not so well-known,” says Chef Sundstrom. “So, you know, one of the first restaurants to really get into nose-to-tail and farm-to-table in the region.”

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

How Rich's Helps Define Clean Label and Sustainability

Consumers are demanding authenticity.

Authenticity in their products, foods, brands, you name it.

On this episode of The Barron Report, Jen VanDewater, Vice President of Health and Authenticity at Rich Products Corporation, sits down with our host Paul Barron to discuss how a large company like Rich’s is addressing consumer concerns over clean labeling and authenticity when it boils down to the products they offer.

Listen above to learn more about this company’s sustainability and social efforts!


Show Notes:

  • 03:57 - Driving Factor Pushing Companies To Make Changes

  • 04:32 - Defining Clean Label

  • 06:47 - How Rich's Monitors The Market

  • 08:29 - Social Trends Monitoring

  • 10:47 - Trends In The Marketplace

  • 11:38 - Customer Portfolio Analysis

  • 13:06 - Verifying If Products have a Clean Label

  • 14:16 - How Rich's Looks at Data around Clean Label

  • 18:31 - Trends in Consumer Demand

  • 22:52 - Real Meaning of Sustainability

  • 26:08 - Rich's Sustainability Efforts

  • 28:22 - Operators Attitudes Towards Sustainability

 
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Chef Nicholas Flores Gives Us The Know-How for a Perfect Pizza

On this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen and Bar, Executive Chef and pizza-making professional of Sette Osteria, Nicholas Flores, shares his experience of opening up a new location in Wynwood and schools us on the must-dos of pizza with our host, Paul Barron.

Chef Nicholas learned from the best in Italian cuisine. Starting as a dishwasher at the tender age of 15, he honed his craft, moved up in the industry, and mastered the art of pizza. When the opportunity presented itself to open up another location in Miami, Fla., Chef Flores was open and excited to take on the challenge.

The vibe of Sette Osteria and the neighborhood of Wynwood correlate perfectly. Sette Osteria has a very modern look with loads of green plants scattered throughout the location. Similarly, Wynwood is a bright, contemporary neighborhood surrounded by the green palm trees of Miami. Osteria couldn’t have been placed in a better spot.

Chef Flores’ has many secrets to creating the perfect pizza. The technique has to have the same consistency to achieve the best results whether it be the ingredients, the dough, the method of cooking, etc. Chef Flores shared a few with us.  

“The key to making the best Margherita Classica pizza is the mozzarella always has to be wet, the tomato sauce should be very light, and there should be plenty of cheese on top,” says chef Flores.

Another fundamental to pizza is the dough. You can see the level of experience chef Flores has as you watch him pump out another pizza crust quickly and as perfectly as the last. He believes the pizza should be no bigger than 8-10 slices. If it’s too big, you lose quality in the crust.

“I always make my pizza about a medium crust. If it’s too big, the pizza doesn’t have any body,” says Chef Flores.

To learn more about how to make pizza, watch the video above of Smart Kitchen and Bar!

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup pizza flour

  • 3-4 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 cups cold water


Prosciutto e Rucola Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. ball of pizza dough

  • 10 oz. baby arugula

  • .5 oz. lemon dressing

  • 4 oz. fresh sliced prosciutto di parma

Prosciutto 2 cropped.jpg

Directions:

  1. Stretch the dough into the shape of a pizza.

  2. Drop diced mozzarella to cover dough leaving some gaps in between each piece of cheese.

  3. Leave about an inch without cheese to make a nice crust.

  4. Pop into oven for about 7 minutes (500-degree commercial gas oven) or until bottom of crust is no longer soft and has little dark spots underneath.

  5. Slice prosciutto into quarter-inch pieces.

  6. Pull out oven and put a handful of arugula over the melted cheese.

  7. Drizzle lemon oil dressing over arugula.

  8. Gently lay 4-6 slices of prosciutto over the bed of arugula.

  9. Slice and serve.

Margherita Classica Pizza

margherita cropped.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. ball of pizza dough

  • 3 oz. tomato sauce

  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella

  • 4 basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Stretch the dough into the shape of a pizza.

  2. Ladle tomato sauce onto dough and make circular motions to push the sauce toward the crust.

  3. Leave about an inch without sauce to make a nice crust.

  4. Drop diced mozzarella over tomato sauce.

  5. Pop into oven for about 7 minutes (500-degree commercial gas oven) or until bottom of crust is no longer soft and has little dark spots underneath. Cheese should bubble when the pizza is ready to be pulled out of the oven.

  6. Top with whole or sliced/torn basil.

  7. Slice and serve.

Craft Producers Are Changing The Way Restaurants Buy Products

Craft producers are shaking the big-box purveyors as the grab for restaurants’ food dollars are always in play. These specialty creators are delivering on the mania of being connected to the community, giving back, sticking with environmental responsibility, and running with old-world values.

In that same vein, Catherine Seisson’s shop is a shrine to traditional French baking. Genuine ingredients, iron-fisted adherence to classic preparations, and an unbroken commitment to quality; the strictest of standards for the esteem of a real French bakery. Except, the bakery is in a suburb of Philadelphia.

Renaissance Woman

Source: Becca Mathias

Source: Becca Mathias

The Lyon native dropped apron in West Chester, PA with only a few months to launch her shop. With a French baker father and flour powering through her marrow, Seisson is an ass-kicking, fierce redhead with a huge smile and craftsmanship to match.

“It’s in my blood; I wanted to make bread,” Seisson says proudly.

And her brioche trappiziane will make you cry tears of bliss and wonder. Those tears are turning into dollars as small-scale merchants, like Seisson’s La Baguette Magique, are making a huge difference on the food scene. Seisson supplies select area restaurants with bread and pastries. Not a lot of restaurants, mind you. But enough to be a contender.

Mammoth Amazon is hawking paper products, smallwares, and appliances. The next frontier will, most certainly, drill into staples and commodities. While Amazon, Sysco, US Foods and other big-rig vendors are looking at the hefty spends, small-scale producers are taking up menu items, one at a time.

Macro Trend: Our Customers Have Feelings

When millennials look to join a team, they frequently want a connection to the community, some form of giving back and environmental awareness. Why wouldn’t the same be true for vendors partnered with restaurants? Having a craftily produced array of products to supply the demands of mission-sensitive restaurants makes sense. Where some larger producers keep, for instance, preservatives, less-than-favorably sourced ingredients, and anonymous origins coursing through their product lines, smaller merchants are able to deliver with a friendlier approach. On trend with consumers digging into the responsible sourcing but not willing to give up flavor and appeal, many smaller vendors are seizing opportunities and profits. Like La Baguette Magique, other crafty producers are juggling the supply chains.

Big On Growth, Small On Changes

La Colombe Coffee has been around for a while. The company is the love child of JP Iberti and Todd Carmichael, the duo who has brewed the once eastern Pennsylvania-only coffee roaster into a coast-to-coast darling, all while sticking to their values, fair sourcing, and unabridged quality. La Colombe has changed very little since its earlier days. Still rocking a roastery in Philly and packaging their workshop roasts by hand, the microastery is disrupting the status quo of traditional coffee distributorship by staying in their lane. Distribution to restaurants, bakeries, and cafes is duty-bound. The beans still come from farms known to be responsible growers, the production standards are inexplicably calculated for quality, and, most importantly, their market growth has been conservatively restrained. Despite a fiscal injection from Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya, the reach of La Colombe to the west coast has only included a few retail spots and limited distribution of the coffee for retail brewing. The result? The brand is maintaining its original identity while offering a true craft approach to coffee grounded in everything that brought the company to life.

The Spicy Rebel Upstart

Source: Spiceology

Source: Spiceology

In 2013, a chef’s collaborative was struck—Spiceology. Started by partners Pete Taylor and Heather Scholten, the chef-centric perspective of building a direct-to-industry spice company was founded. “We do it for the chefs, right down to how we package,” said Taylor. Spiceology was cast of the same craft approach by targeting cooks that are really, really, into their trade. Very intentional marketing, clean lines, and a rebel yell that appeals to living-out-loud culinary types, Spiceology brings color to the otherwise standard staple of sticky containers of generic seasonings sitting in every kitchen.

Why do it? The chef owned and operated off-spring started with an initial retail presence. “We are all chefs; we all think that spices for foodservice is a screwed-up industry, getting jacked on pricing with inferior product, and poor packaging, so Spiceology was born,” said Taylor. “Compared to the broadliners, they don’t put themselves in the chefs’ clogs. Depth and a story have a meaning and purpose that are important. Chefs supporting chefs is customer-centric.”

The approach puts the necessary elements at the forefront. “Our Periodic Table of Flavor keeps the chef’s spice rack organized. It’s modernist! We eliminated the distributor by shipping direct, and built a loyalty program,” said Taylor. The burgeoning business rewards support with a points program that further builds a bond with the culinary community. “With the [loyalty points] you can get cool shit that we, as chefs, know we would want.”

Has this flavor worked for the brand? Spiceology has been rated one of the fastest growing spice companies by "Entrepreneur Magazine."

Growing The Buzz

Produce is a happy place for most chefs. Seasonal changes mean new play toys. New play toys mean new dishes for customers. Growing specifically for exacting chefs has been the crux of The Chef’s Garden for a very long time. A veteran operation by today’s benchmarks, the Jones family of farmers swap big boxes of Romaine for their Painted Oak and Ruby Crystal lettuce varieties. The gain? Customary farming being reinvented to bring collaborative growing practice between kitchens and farms. This is true farm to table. Farmer Lee Jones and company are grounded — literally — in supplying restaurants with produce that is innovative and exciting while endearing to the roots of traditional farming, packed by the ‘each’ versus the case.

Using Smaller Vendors Is Not A Pickled Idea

Money is money, and often the tractor trailers deliver better prices than the little pickup trucks. Being selective in which boutique purveyor gets the dollars seems to balance the sweet and sour proposition of when to spend bigger on smaller purchases. Warehouse vendors are not going away. Instead, they are sharing the food cost spend with less assuming manufacturers, farmers, and creative vendors.

The allure of knowing the origins of the food we are serving is more than a chef’s novelty; it is the power to market. The smaller, more dialed-in merchants, are making products that fill that space, while small, runs deeps with customers looking forward to hearing from operations that are using products that match their values.

How AI is Being Used to Reduce Food Waste

A consistent influx of food waste is an inevitable problem for food businesses. 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year, which is roughly $1 trillion, according to the "Food Tank."

Luckily, today, we have more technology companies developing solutions to try to limit food waste. 

Hospitals and their programs, in particular, produce a significant amount of food waste. When patients aren't eating, not only is there more food waste but there is also health implications. 

With that in mind, the Japanese company Hitachi is partnering a hospital to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor food waste.

This data helps to improve the hospital's meal preparation while also relieving the burden on nurses to check these leftovers. 

"The system works by using a camera mounted on a trolley that collects trays, taking pictures of the leftovers. The company’s deep learning algorithms then examine the images to provide analysis," writes "The Spoon." "By doing this post-meal analysis, Hitachi’s systems can recognize patterns in the leftovers that humans otherwise could not see. Japan Times writes that nurses often check leftovers now, but the task adds to their workloads and they are not trained nutritionists."

The system is still being tested, but could this AI technology be eventually used at all hospitals?

Read more at "The Spoon" now.

Another company combating food waste is FoodMaven. Listen below to the Colorado-based company's co-founder, chairman & CEO Patrick Bultema as he talks about how the online marketplace sells high-quality local and oversupplied food from distributors to restaurant operators.