Sea Around Us Project surveyed diners concerning their order options. The study found 45% of diners were influenced by server suggestions and over 45% were influenced by seafood specials. These results indicate restaurants hold important power when it comes to which menu items they recommend to patrons, and these can be used as effective tools for influencing sustainable choices.
The US Attorney for Southern Florida has announced another seafood prosecution against a commercial seafood dealer, Rusty Anchor Seafood of Key West, for violating Florida laws on seasons, trip limits, and licensing. Prosecutors say that Rusty Anchor, for its commercial gain, knowingly purchased and sold in interstate commerce lobster and finfish that were taken, possessed, transported, and sold in violation of Florida laws. It is most disturbing to see blatant disregard for protection efforts, but reassuring that attention is being paid.
The last two gulf coast Stone Crabs seasons have been most disappointing. Captain Ron Holiday of Aripeka, FL had been blaming the poor catch on the weather. “In a good year you get a couple of hundred pounds of claws a day. Now you get 15 or 20 pounds. With the price of bait and fuel, you don’t make any money”. But crabbers off Pine Island, FL made an amazing discovery: marauding hordes of octopus are climbing into the traps and eating the stone crab. “They go from trap to trap. It’s funny. They know where the traps are.”
Congratulations to the finalists for the 2011 James Beard awards. Included are our friends Stephanie Izard, Girl & the Goat, Chicago, for Best New Reataurant, Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Chicago, for Best Chef, and Boulevard, San Francisco, for Best Retaurant. Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Chicago, Paul Virant, Vie, Western Springs, IL, and Alex Young, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI vying for Best Chef Great Lakes; Colby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City, MO, and Tory Miller, L’Etoile, Madison, WI, for Best Chef Midwest; Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY
Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC for Best Chef Southeast, and Michael White, Marea, for Best Chef NY. And tonight in NYC, a Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market benefiting the Friends of James Beard. Cooking will be an all star cast including our friends Mary Cleaver (Chelsea Market’s The Green Table), Michel Nischan (The Dressing Room, Westport, CT), Todd Gray (Equinox, Washington, DC) and Emily Luchetti (Waterbar, San Francisco). A big shout out to all these great chefs.
Seafood demand in Japan appears to be sinking under the weight of the disaster. Prices at Tsukiji market in Tokyo have plunged by up to 50 percent as demand from restaurants and hotels has evaporated since this month's earthquake and tsunami. 'The fish are here,' one Tsukiji wholesaler said. 'But nobody's coming to buy it.' With Japan as the largest buyer of Alaska seafood, we will have to wait and see what effect this will have on prices going forward.