Sustainable Seafood Improves Menus

For many years, the sustainable food movement has inspired restaurant owners and chefs to look to local farms for fresh, sustainable meats, fruits, and vegetables. Chefs create fantastic recipes from these sustainable ingredients and help to expand the movement toward a healthier planet.

Recently, this search has expanded to seafood as well. Instead of cooking with some of the more popular varieties that have been overfished, like salmon and yellow fin tuna, they are opting for less common fish species. While they may not be what some diners are used to, these uncommon fish allow chefs to experiment and exercise more creativity with new dishes. Most restaurants who try making the change are finding that sustainability works well for both their budgets and their dishes.

Environmental Responsibility with Seafood Alternatives

For decades, the demand for popular fish species has been growing exponentially. Some of these are farmed now, but the demand for wild caught fish is still extremely high. Many of the species tend to be larger predatory fish, so as their populations dwindle, populations of smaller fish grow.

This shift in availability is what has prompted some chefs to incorporate more sustainable seafood into their menus. These chefs are not just going along with the most current eco-friendly trend; they are truly concerned that they will not be able to get the more popular fish in a few years, or it will be cost prohibitive to do so, so they are making adjustments ahead of time.

Restaurants that are interested in trying more sustainable seafood should plan their menus around the seasons in which these sustainable varieties are most available. Individually, some sustainable varieties are more expensive, but restaurant owners can minimize expenses by planning their menus as a whole, rather than substituting a sustainable item here and there.

Restaurants can save money by using more sustainable options, but it is important to shop smart and make sure that their seafood suppliers understand the restaurant’s goals for sustainability and affordability.

Delicious and Nutritious

Another perk of using some of these sustainable varieties is that they are often new to many customers, and even to some chefs. These chefs have the chance to create dishes that center on a whole new ingredient. The creative opportunities that these chefs enjoy can help revitalize an old menu and intrigue new patrons. Many of these sustainable options actually tend to be more flavorful than their more commonly used counterparts. Some sustainable fish species, like sardines and anchovies, are rarely used as the centerpiece of a main dish.

Many species of previously ignored shellfish are considered sustainable items, and are becoming more prominent in some restaurants. In the light of a chef’s inspired creativity, these shunned species can become stars of brand new menu items that surprise and excite patrons.

As a whole, most consumers are on board for these menu changes. They are excited to try new ingredients and flavor combinations, and they are thankful for restaurants that show more environmental responsibility. Celebrity chef Sam Choy uses sustainable fish in his restaurants and food truck and claims, “I have never lost a customer because we used sustainable fish, but we have certainly gained many.”

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One Response to “Sustainable Seafood Improves Menus”

  1. Keys to Acquiring the Best Seafood « Jim Balis' Blog Says:

    […] the best seafood around does not result only from actions in the kitchen, but from buying seafood from the best […]

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