Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fish School

Matt & I had a great opportunity to attend a 2 1/2 day fish class put on by Foley Fish, one of Bostons original fish purveyors.

We spent some long,long days starting at 5am at the Boston Fish Pier, on board a ground fish boat, a scallop boat and  the New Bedford Fish Auction in between class time spent talking about sustainable New England Fisheries, quality control of seafood products and some amazing demos by master fish cutters.

All in all one of the best professional experiences I have had in very long time. The things that as a professional chef you feel you have a pretty good grasp on become elementary compared to the people who deal in that particular expertise day in and day out.

One of the things that I feel make me who I am as a chef is my desire to learn and continue to explore the world I work in on a much deeper level. Going into the belly of the beast so to speak to find out where my food really comes from, how does it get to my back door and by who.

Its easy to pick up the phone on a daily basis and place the order that magically arrives the next day. But to meet the captains of the boats and ask them the questions that you very rarely get to ask is truly going to the source and learning where its coming from and how its getting there.

If you can, get out and learn about the products you are using. Its not enough to ask your vendor where is it coming from, ask your vendor to take you where its coming from..............you may be surprised about what you learn.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mugaritz Fire ....Stagières' Knives Appeal

Monday February 15 a fire destroyed much of the kitchen and the world famous MUGARITZ restaurant in Spain. The web site now simply reads in several languages..."The reconstruction begins from the foundation"

In an effort to help some stagiers ( motivated culinary professionals who travel the world to work for FREE in some of the worlds finest restaurants) who lost their most prized possession...their knives, a fundraiser has been set up. 
For more information on how you can help and to read a more in depth story go to DOCSCONZ- THE BLOG.

You may also go to firstgiving.com  to donate as well.

Total raised so far $1060.00 of the $2500 goal. (2/26/2010)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

No excuses...Local produce in the winter in New England?? YES



.

I recently had a conversation with a chef in the area about procuring local product. While most of you who follow the blog know that I support local agriculture, I support buying the highest quality ingredients first, make sure its fom sustainable source and then try and source it locally before I look elsewhere.

Anyways a little off track....the conversation with my fellow chef was about finding local produce here in New England in the middle of winter, he was saying there was nothing to buy and he would "jump on the bandwagon" in the summer again.

My feeling was that this was the easy way out. Yes it takes some extra work and no the farms aren't going to deliver as much in the winter. BUT fiqure out where you standards are. At Tastings we are all part of the solution. My sous chef gets up early to meet the Farm Trucks, Matt & I spend hours on the phone and online sourcing the product and then meeting the farmers, fisherman and ranchers. tasting the product, evaluating the quality vs. other sources and then putting our order together. Here is last weeks order in the middle of February for local product . I know its not a lot...but my point, its there and available....

Apples (Hill Fam)
Carrots (Schatner Farms)
Pasnips (Farm Fresh & Co. Farms)
Potatoes (Scatner Farms)
Seaweed (She Sells Seaweed )
Shrimp (Port Clydes)
Beef (Blackbird Farm)
Pork(Hill Farm)
Eggs Cage Free (Baffoni poulty farm)
Native Popcon on Cob (Schantner fams)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Port Clyde Fresh Catch


Over the last few weeks we have begun to use a product new to us in the kitchen, not that Maine shrimp is anything new, but finding a source for Maine shrimp that is sustainable and traceable is getting harder and harder as demand is reaching all time highs and supply is depleting.

But we are confident that we have found a source that cares about preserving the stock and the ocean.

St. George peninsula locate mid coast Maine, you will find the small fishing village and port of  Port Clyde. Port Clyde sits at the confluence of Muscongus and Penobscot bays, and provides key access to myriad fishing grounds. The village is steeped in the fishing industry, going back some 200 years.

 This heritage continues today with shrimp as well as ground fish such as haddock, flounder, cod, pollock and hake although much less in scale than 200 years ago, the fisherman remain as true to their catch as the they did then.

Roughly a dozen fishing vessels make up Port Clyde’s small fleet, the last between Portland, Maine and the Canadian border.

Determined to preserve their heritage, their community and the resources the fisherman of Port Clyde Maine use environmentally sustainable fishing methods.

They guarantee 100% supply-chain traceability, a return to the traditions of America's past — fresh, wild-caught seafood that we the customer can trace to the source.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Green Sea Urchin

Green Sea Urchin (Massachusetts Hand Harvested)
 Rhode Island Parsnip Soup/Coffee & Sea Urchin Froth

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cheese & Cake

new on my blog roll.......cheese & cake by Matt Jennings chef/owner of Farmstead Inc.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Taylor Bay Scallops: A Sustainable Delicacy


Steamed Taylor Bay Scallops/Organic Polenta/Wild Mushrooms/Tarragon Crumbs
Meyer Lemon Oil/Chervil
(photo by Matt Maue)

Taylor Bay Scallops are raised in the waters of Cape Cod MA. These native local scallops are harvested daily, meaning I order them Monday night, Tuesday they are harvested live and delivered direct to the restaurant. Taylor Bays are Cape Cod Bay Scallops grown and harvested in Buzzards Bay.

Taylor Seafood has mastered techniques for growing these scallops. They are grown in nets suspended in the waters off of Cape Cod, Taylor Bays are also clean and sand free,making  them virtually ready to serve with minimal labor, a quick scrub and to the table.

With all the wild scallop issues these days and our commitment to a sustainable kitchen, these are on their way to becoming a staple item in our kitchen.

Live on the half shell or prepared as above, by far one the best farmed raised products coming from our local waters.