By Hillary Lindsay
May 7th of this year brought us the first annual Sustainable Seafood Shindig, hosted by Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortúzar with the Crafted Hospitality Team, at Riverpark Restaurant. This fantastic start to Sustainable Seafood Week NYC, produced by Village Fishmonger, featured star chefs, local fishermen, and seafood farmers who work hard to bring us the most sustainable seafood possible from our shores, lakes, and farms.
The star-studded lineup included Dave Pasternack, April Bloomfield, Marco Canora, David Chang, Kerry Heffernan, Anita Lo, Rick Moonen, and Bill Telepan. These amazing chefs paired off and teamed up with a local fisherman or seafood farmers at individual stations to give attendees inside information on the industry. Each intimate counter featured a different sea creature and a paired beverage.
As an example, Chef Dave Chang and Chef April Bloomfield, fresh from her James Beard Award win the previous night, teamed up with Captain Brady Lybarger of Lund's Fisheries to represent scup, a.k.a porgy. Chang, with the help of Esca sous-chef Brian Plant, went for his classic crudo. This Scup Crudo was finished with Sicilian olive oil and pickled ramps, fresh from Blooming Hill Farm, and paired with Sixpoint Brewery's Italian Ale. Bloomfield also used ramps in a tartar sauce to finish her Fried Scup with Mushy Peas, an ode to her British roots, which was paired with Sixpoint Brewery's Finnish Sahti.
Attendees went around to the different counters to enjoy the sustainable seafood dishes as well as the endless cocktails, passed seafood treats, and beautiful view of the East River. However, along with showcasing the food and drinks this event served as a conversation starter about the realities of sustainable seafood in America. There to initiate that conversation was guest speaker, Paul Greenberg, New York Times best selling author of Four Fish. While reading excerpts from his new book, American Catch, Greenberg pointed out that the United States has more coastline than most other countries of the world yet 91% of our seafood is imported. This baffling statistic triggered the question of how this could be and how could we change it? This event of celebration and appreciation is a step in the right direction to battle the choppy waters of change.
For more info: www.sustainableseafoodweeknyc.com
Hillary Lindsay is a NYC resident with an anthropology degree who explores culture through food by engaging in work on farms, in restaurants, and in shops, as well as through blogging and social media. Check out her blog at fttdeconstructed.wordpress.com.