Keys to Acquiring the Best Seafood

Serving the best seafood around does not result only from actions in the kitchen, but from buying seafood from the best possible sources. Today, most restaurants are planning their seafood menus using sustainable seafood lists, but to create really superb dishes, there is more to be done than to simply order your fish from the most popular producer and hope it ships on time. To have the best chance of getting quality, fresh seafood that is sustainable and in season, restaurant owners and chefs should invest in relationships with suppliers that understand their needs and are willing to work with the restaurant consistently. This kind of relationship results in opportunities to make truly special dishes that are unique and can really tell a story for your guests.

Trusted Suppliers

When you work with a seafood supplier, whether it is a small fishing operation or a large-scale fishery, a close relationship with a representative can give a restaurant many benefits. One of these is the peace of mind that they are working with a trusted business acquaintance, and that relationship helps to ensure that each piece of product that they use is of the highest quality. No supplier wants to lose a long-standing customer that gives them consistent business, so the motivation to ensure that all seafood is fresh and fit for preparation is incredibly high. To lose a restaurant as a customer would be too high a cost, especially for small, independently owned fishing operations.

Education and Information

Another reason for restaurant owners and chefs to maintain a relationship with their seafood suppliers is that the suppliers should be able to share valuable information about the products that they are supplying, or could supply, to the restaurant. Suppliers are an invaluable source of information about seasonality, sustainability, and many other factors that may help owners and chefs make pertinent decisions about their menus and ingredients. Chefs rarely have time to research this type of information for themselves so they value a close relationship with a supplier that will keep the buyer up-to-date on seafood-related news and developments.

Many restaurants have struggled with this aspect of finding the right supplier, even stating that while a supplier may have good products, the restaurant may still move on to another supplier because they did not receive the kind of communication and information that they needed.

To Each His Own

Cultivating relationships with seafood suppliers can be time consuming and difficult. This is why some restaurants opt for using just one trusted supplier for all of their seafood needs. Others prefer to diversify and use many different suppliers based on specialties or certain preferences.  For instance, a restaurant may use one supplier for all of their shellfish needs, but turn to a different operation for fish. Still others may have a different supplier for each type of fish they serve. In any case, the goal is to create a relationship (or relationships) in which restaurant owners and chefs can learn new things and create the best possible dishes with the best product available.

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