Sunday, July 24, 2011

SO What Is Trace & Trust?

Everyone is putting emphasis on locally sourced meat and vegetables,, it’s only a matter of time until the majority of people will want to ask about where exactly everything on their plate comes from. More Often than not is up to us as chefs to pass along the information to our servers in order to tell their customers what’s on the menu.

 However, a new program called Trace and Trust has taken an extraordinary step towards seafood transparency. I have been involved in this program now for aprox 8 months, many of you who read my blog regularly have seen the funny QR codes and a fish id almost weekly telling you about the fish I am using at the restaurant. But alot of people still ask me ...SO what exactly is Trace & Trust??

Trace and Trust is program developed last year by a small team of fishermen in collaboration with a small number of local area restaurants in Providence and Boston. The general idea was to allow both chefs and their guests alike to know exactly where their seafood came from. Everything from who, what vessel, when and how much was delivered to what restaurant. The information is obtained through a FISH ID number assigned to each individual  catch and species. You can go to the web site and enter a fish id on the home page, or I am currently giving all my guests who order a dish using Trace & Trust certified seafood a business card with a QR code and the ID so that the guest can scan the code at their leisure using their smart phone, the link takes them to a mobile version of the T&T website that again allows the guest to input the FISH ID in order to get the information.

I've been testing QR codes on my menus for a few months, the goal is to enable guests to pull out their smart phones and “track” their fish. In my opinion it’s getting a rave reviews.

Additionally, Trace and Trust has local Facebook pages that show fans where their fish are coming from and to which restaurants they’re going.

As a chef I can call my fisherman now and ask him when and where he is going fishing. Believe it or not the  fisherman can call me from his boat, at sea, telling me what the weather is, how far out to sea he is, what waters the fish are biting in, and exactly what and when he’ll be able to get to my kitchen within the next 24 hours..... It’s something that I am confident in saying that only a few restaurants that I know of in the country can claim this type of freshness and connection to the source.

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