Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is America's sustainable seafood at risk?

By Megan O'Neill 

The global fishing industry is a cloudy animal of the high seas.

The traceability of seafood from international waters to an American plate is a difficult web of confusion, and black market fishing—or what we should correctly refer to as illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing—blurs the waters. But there’s hope for the American fisheries unfairly competing with IUU and fraudulent practices. And there’s hope for those consumers, chefs and buyers simply looking for transparency in seafood.

Earlier this month at the Seafood Expo North America, the Department of State and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced an action plan for the implementation of recommendations to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud. The recommendations were given by a 19-agency Presidential Task Force that was established by President Obama to create a comprehensive framework to oust the IUU fishing that thoroughly impacts the economic and environmental sustainability of U.S. and global fisheries.

The action plan spells out each forceful step, 15 in total, that federal agencies will take in both domestic and international settings as the Obama administration works to support sustainable fisheries and keep the American fishing industry strong.

In short, IUU fishing consists of fishing activities that are illegal (conducted in breach of applicable laws), unreported (not reported or misreported to relevant authorities in breach of reporting procedures), or unregulated (occurring in areas in which there are no applicable conservation measures). According to the report, which you can read in full here, the task force was established for two reasons: 1. to address this IUU fishing and 2. to address seafood fraud, both of which refer to all seafood species, not just fish. The Task Force includes a diverse group of members—Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Defense and more.

So why, might you ask, would one require a 19-agency Presidential Task Force for recommendations on illegal fishing practices? It’s a fair question, but one that can be readily answered. By circumventing conservation and management measures and engaging in these fraudulent practices, the health of the general ecosystem is greatly impacted, and the sustainability of U.S. and global fish stocks is seriously undermined.

In its 2015 biennial report to congress, NOAA highlighted their findings and analyses of foreign IUU fishing activities on the high seas where nations do not have a regulatory program comparable to the United States. What’s astounding in their research is IUU’s incredible impact on the economic stability of the industry.

According to NOAA, global losses from illegal fishing practices are estimated between $10 and $23 billion annually.

But beyond the loss of money, and simply because of the massive oceanic nature, IUU fishing is difficult to place. “It can occur in capture fisheries both within areas of national jurisdiction and on the high seas,” stated the Presidential Task Force Report.

As the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by the Associated Press surfaces, American interest in the international seafood supply chain strengthens. The AP’s article, which was posted last week, brought to light modern day slave labor conditions in Indonesian fisheries. “Are slaves catching the fish you buy?” headlined the piece. It’s a clouded seafood supply chain, and according to the AP, tainted seafood mixes in with other fish at a number of sites in Thailand, including processing plants. It’s a jarring thought, and although extreme, it proves the need for higher regulation and transparency in the fishing supply chain in international waters.

“Because more than 2.5 billion people depend upon fish for food and nutrition, IUU fishing practices threaten food security and sustainability and undermine efforts to reduce global hunger and malnutrition,” stated the report.

According to NOAA, nearly 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Beyond that, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Ecuador are where we’re importing from. A greater understanding of where our fish come from (increasing required information available on seafood products) is one of the four general themes of the Task Force’s plan.  

Port sale measures, free trade agreements, fishery subsidies, and best practices for data tracking are among the 15 recommendations, broad in scope, provided to the administration by the Task Force.  Others include expanded federal, state and local enforcement provisions and information sharing and traceability programs.

The traceability system attempts to give chefs and consumers purchasing seafood in the American market an increasing confidence in the sustainability of the market. Though ambitious, it aims to track every piece of seafood that enters U.S. commerce from where it is caught to where it lands in the United States. According to the report, implementation by September 2016 should trace all at-risk seafood (or products of  particular concern) through data tracking.


The actions of the task force announced at the Seafood Expo might certainly give American buyers a peace of mind and hope for a future that truly combats questionable imports. Timelines are available for each of the 15 recommendations, and reassure the government’s commitment to not only leveling the playing field for U.S. fishers who are unfairly competing with illegal catch and seafood products, but also providing buyers with the ability to trace, the ability to trust and the ability to eat a piece of seafood that is correctly and ethically represented. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Chef's Stirrings eNewsletter, March 16, 2015

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Welcome to Chef's Stirrings, Chef Magazine's monthly news highlights of what's going on in the foodservice industry and chef world. For daily news and online exclusives, please visitChef's Stirrings blog.

Chef Magazine is also available digitally. If you would like to view the 2015 March/April digital issue, please click HERE. Register HERE for free to receive Chef Digital directly to your inbox.


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In this issue of Chef's Stirrings:

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Got a news item? Send it to us for consideration.
Sincerely,
The Editors, Chef Magazine


The Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI) has moved its dates due to popular demand - new dates and local to be announced soon!


50+ Inspired Styles in Happy Chef's 2015 Catalog
Whether you need an executive look or complementing head-to-toe uniforms for the whole team, you'll find your style among the coats, pants, and aprons in the 2015 Happy Chef Catalog.
Get one of the newest colors and styles for yourself – request your free catalog at happychefuniforms.com.



Sold-out Crowd Gathers to Celebrate Work of The Organic Center 
It was a celebration of organic: of the benefits to the environment and to our health that organic provides, of the scientists and researchers whose dedicated work advances the organic sector, and of the generous sponsors who make that work possible in the labs, in the fields and in the orchards.

More than 500 supporters gathered for The Organic Center's Annual Benefit Dinner March 5 in Anaheim, California. The sold-out fundraiser, held in conjunction with Natural Products Expo West, this year raised nearly $450,000 for the work of the non-profit research and education organization.

Additionally, almost a million people outside the gala ballroom had the chance to share in the event through social media.

Dinner speakers stressed the importance of the work of The Organic Center in educating the public about organic and the broad and real impact of organic on the environment, on ecosystems, and on human health. The Center now has several critical research projects underway: comparing soil health on organic and conventional farms, outlining antibiotic-free alternatives for controlling fire blight in organic apple and pear orchards, exploring decreasing arsenic uptake in organic rice systems, seeking organic solutions to citrus greening, and discerning the benefits of organic to pollinator populations.

"When we fight for organic food, it connects us to every living creature on the planet, from birds to frogs and pollinators--all those harmed by toxic pesticides," keynote speaker Anna Lappé, widely respected author and educator, food systems expert and sustainable foods activist, told dinner attendees.

Lappé added, "You make history: with every company you build, every farmer you help, every study you commission to prove the power of organic farming."
Chef Susan Feniger, a 30-year restaurant industry veteran, celebrity chef, and cookbook author who designed the all-organic menu for what was the largest dinner event of the 5-day Expo, said she chose specific dishes related to The Center's research--including exotic citrus-inspired dishes in honor of citrus greening research and organic rice-based offerings in recognition of efforts to reduce arsenic uptake in organic rice.

Feniger has long sought out locally grown and sustainably raised food for her menus and has shared the origin of the food with her customers. "I truly believe that the best way to begin to change how people think is to start by giving them information. It isn't just about making sure people have the option to buy organic, but also about educating people so that they understand just how important it really is," she told the dinner attendees.

In addition to the hundreds of enthusiastic supporters of The Center gathered for the event, this year's gala connected with individuals outside the ballroom. Attendees were encouraged to use their cell phones and spread the word about The Center using the hashtag #OrganicScience, sharing their favorite moments with their own social networks and significantly expanding the reach of the evening's most important messages.

Among the most impressive statistics: about 450 social media posts using the event hashtag from 160 unique users reached just under 1 million people.
Event sponsors included Stonyfield Farm and New Hope Natural Media, Nature's Path Foods, Organic Valley/Organic Prairie, Clif Bar, Whole Foods Market, and Horizon Organic, Foxy Organic, UNFI, KeHE, Cal-Organic Farms, Earthbound Farm, National Co+op Grocers, Frontier Co-op, Mamma Chia, and Wholesome!
"This was a very fun and successful evening," said Todd Linsky, chairman of the Board of Trustees for The Center. "We all learned a lot about the exciting and crucial work that The Center is undertaking, while raising needed funding to make this work possible."

For more information on The Organic Center and the science behind organic food and farming, visit organic-center.org.


2015 Seafood Excellence Awards Finalists Announced 
The 12 finalists for the 2015 Seafood Excellence Awards, the prestigious best new products competition held in conjunction with Seafood Expo North America, have been announced. Winners of the competition will be presented during the Seafood Excellence Awards ceremony, which will take place on Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 3:30pm during the Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America in Boston.

The Seafood Excellence Awards annually recognize the product leaders in the North American seafood market. Each year, exhibitors at the event have the opportunity to submit their new products for consideration. Products are evaluated by three seafood industry experts based on their uniqueness and appropriateness to the market, taste profile, packaging, market potential, convenience, nutritional value and originality.

The 2015 twelve finalists were selected from more than 70 entries in the exposition's New Product Showcase and compete for two awards: Best New Foodservice Product and Best New Retail Product.

Each finalist's product will be showcased during the three-day event in Boston.
The Seafood Excellence Awards serves as the North American extension of the Seafood Prix d'Elite new product competition, held at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, Belgium. Both, Seafood Excellence Awards and Seafood Prix d'Elite, are organized by Diversified Communications, producers of the Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global and Seafood Expo Asia.

View all of the entries into the Seafood Excellence AwardsHERE.


The James Beard Foundation announces 2015 Who's Who Inductees
The James Beard Foundation has announced the five 2015 inductees to the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. The prestigious award is given to renowned culinary professionals who have made a significant and unique contribution to the American food and beverage industry. This year's honorees will be celebrated at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards presented by Lexus on Monday, May 4, 2015, at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

"This year's Who's Who honorees join an impressive group of over 250 of our country's most respected food industry leaders," says Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. "Their impact on cultural cuisine, food production and mixology is both substantial and exciting."

The James Beard Foundation's Who's Who is a cadre of the most accomplished food and beverage professionals in the country. Though they represent a diverse cross-section of the food and beverage industry—from chefs to journalists to farmers to business executives to scholars—each has been identified by his or her peers as having displayed remarkable talent and achievement. Begun in 1984 by Cook's Magazine, the Who's Who has been administered by the James Beard Foundation since 1990.

The 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees are: 

Allan Benton, Pork Producer and Purveyor/Madisonville, Tennessee
Dale DeGroff, Mixologist/NYC
Wylie Dufresne, Chef and Restaurateur/NYC
Nathalie Dupree, Cookbook Author and Television Personality/Charleston
Maricel Presilla, Chef, Restaurateur, and Cookbook Author/Hoboken, New Jersey


During the Awards Ceremony, which is open to the public, special achievement awards will also be announced, including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. A gala reception will immediately follow featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.


All Trends & News from the Culinary World in Chef Magazine's March/April Digital Issue - Read Now

Don't miss the latest Chef digital issue: NOW VIEWABLE ON all devices...

To start reading, please click HERE.

Make sure you sign up for your complimentary subscription of Chef Digital, which is delivered directly into your inbox each & every month.

Did you miss an issue? Catch back up with our digital archives.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 James Beard Foundation Awards Nominees Announced

An exciting morning for the industry as The James Beard Foundation has announced the final nominees for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards presented by Lexus. The nominees were announced today during a breakfast at the James Beard House in New York City, hosted by Susan Ungaro, James Beard Foundation president; executive vice-president, Mitchell Davis; Emily Luchetti, chair of the Foundation’s board of trustees; and John Washko, trustee and chair of the Awards committee.

“In celebration of the 25th James Beard Foundation Awards we are delighted to announce this year’s nominees live from the Beard House,” says Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “We couldn’t imagine a more fitting place to celebrate the nominees during this exciting banner year than at Beard’s former Greenwich Village house.”

Nominees in 59 categories were announced in the Foundation’s various awards programs, including Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design, and Book, Broadcast and Journalism. In addition, previously announced special achievement award honorees were highlighted, including Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, Who’s Who, and the America’s Classics. A complete list of nominees can be found jamesbeard.org/awards.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

We Remember Dick Brennan Sr., Legendary New Orleans Restaurateur

Photo by Ted Jackson, NOLA.com; The Times-Picayune
This past Saturday, the New Orleans and national culinary community lost one of their own. Richard “Dick” Brennan Sr., a prominent member of the famed Brennan’s family of restaurateurs, died at the age of 83. Helping turn the city into a fine dining Creole destination, Richard recognized the bounty of the region and the true potential of a city steeped in such tradition. He ushered in a new era of New Orleans entertaining and cuisine, instrumental in the transformation of Commander’s Palace, and he will most certainly be missed in this industry and beyond.

“Our Dad was kind, gentle and giving. A mentor, visionary, leader and statesman,” said his children, Dickie and Lauren in a statement this week. “His motto was 'leave it better than you found it.' He was the ultimate New Orleanian and a true Irishman.

According to a biography put together by the family, Richard’s life reads quite like a storybook—one in which good fortune, hard work and integrity led to many successes. Richard married shortly after graduating from Tulane University in New Orleans—to his wife, Lynne, of 64 years, nonetheless—completing 2 years of law school and eventually enlisting in the Army. Following the loss of his brother, Owen Brennan, founder of Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter, Richard and his family continued operating the restaurant while expanding to other concepts and locations. In 1973, when the Brennan’s split their restaurants, Richard joined his siblings, Ella, John, Adelaide and Dottie as they developed Commander’s Palace into the premier concept it became known for.

Among Chefs who not only gained fame there, but became the well-respected acolyte of Richard, Ella and the family, are Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.

Richard was passionate about New Orleans and American cuisine, and he acknowledged its potential from the start.  

“He’ll be deeply missed, but he leaves behind a legacy so profound that his spirit will live on through the beautiful city he called home,” said Dickie and Lauren. “It’s only natural to raise a glass and toast in his honor to a life well lived.

Read in its entirety the beautiful tribute written by Dickie and Lauren for their father here.


Friday, March 13, 2015

James Beard Foundation Announces 2015 Who's Who Inductees

The James Beard Foundation has announced the five 2015 inductees to the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. The prestigious award is given to renowned culinary professionals who have made a significant and unique contribution to the American food and beverage industry. This year’s honorees will be celebrated at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards presented by Lexus on Monday, May 4, 2015, at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

"This year's Who's Who honorees join an impressive group of over 250 of our country's most respected food industry leaders,” says Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “Their impact on cultural cuisine, food production and mixology is both substantial and exciting." 

The James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who is a cadre of the most accomplished food and beverage professionals in the country. Though they represent a diverse cross-section of the food and beverage industry—from chefs to journalists to farmers to business executives to scholars—each has been identified by his or her peers as having displayed remarkable talent and achievement. Begun in 1984 by Cook’s Magazine, the Who’s Who has been administered by the James Beard Foundation since 1990. 


The 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees are:
Allan Benton, Pork Producer and Purveyor/Madisonville, Tennessee
Dale DeGroff, Mixologist/NYC
Wylie Dufresne, Chef and Restaurateur/NYC
Nathalie Dupree, Cookbook Author and Television Personality/Charleston
Maricel Presilla, Chef, Restaurateur, and Cookbook Author/Hoboken, New Jersey

During the Awards Ceremony, which is open to the public, special achievement awards will also be announced, including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. A gala reception will immediately follow featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

All Trends & News from the Culinary World in Chef Magazine's March/April Digital Issue

March/April Digital Issue



Inside the March/April Digital Edition:
A Crush on the South: What's behind the yearning for Southern cooking? We explore the reality of cuisine below the Mason Dixon Line.

Sensational Seafood: Chefs are utilizing new species and preparations from the oceans' bounties.

Keeping it Fresh: Chefs make the most of seasonal ingredients.

Up in Smoke: The smokey tastes of summer can be offered year round thanks to innovate grills and smokers.

Plus Much More!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chef's Stirrings eNewsletter, February 23, 2015


Welcome to Chef's Stirrings, Chef Magazine's monthly news highlights of what's going on in the foodservice industry and chef world. For daily news and online exclusives, please visit Chef's Stirrings blog.

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Chef Magazine is also available digitally. If you would like to view the 2015 January/February digital issue, please click HERE. Register HERE for free to receive Chef Digital directly to your inbox.
In this issue of Chef's Stirrings:
Got a news item? Send it to us for consideration.
Sincerely,
The Editors, Chef Magazine

The Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI) has moved its dates due to popular demand - new dates and local to be announced soon!

Bauscher Hepp, Inc. Announces Opening of New Showroom 
Bauscher Hepp, Inc. is excited to announce the opening of a brand new showroom in Chicago's booming Fulton Market Innovation District. The new showroom has been created in partnership with The Hode Group, a manufacturer representative company providing products & services to catering, healthcare, hotel, and restaurant professionals, as well as Chef Works, a uniform company for the hospitality industry.

The new showroom, located at 1048 West Fulton Market, boasts a 1400 square foot display space, a rooftop patio for entertaining and events, as well as a 1400 square foot storage space in the basement. The elegant presentation of all five of the company's European brands will give clients a first class opportunity to select and build the best tabletop option from Bauscher Hepp's extensive portfolio.

This is the company's second new showroom in the last year. In January 2014 Bauscher Hepp, Inc. announced that they would be relocating their corporate office that includes a 3400 square foot showroom and event space to support growing sales and headcount. The choice to build a second showroom in Chicago stems from the strong business relationships developed by Vice President of National Accounts MaryAgnes Raulston. "Chicago is an amazing city for hotels and restaurants…the growth is unbelievable. Locating our showroom in the heart of the old meatpacking district and just a few blocks from the Randolph Street restaurant row is proving to be extremely successful. Chicago is a great city to visit and an easy place for customers to fly into when looking for new tabletop ideas and inspirations."

@Chef_Mag Named Number One Restaurant Insider to Follow on Twitter 
With its bite-sized messages and mobile capabilities, Twitter is a great way to keep up with trends and news in the ever-changing food industry, 140 characters at a time. Here's a look at ten restaurant insiders including taste-makers, trade publications, food critics and others to help you stay current on all things food.

1. @Chef_Mag: The official Twitter feed of the magazine for executive chefs and food service professionals shares news and opinions from across the industry. The stream also includes a curated selection of other food resources from across the web.

To view the entire list of the top ten please click HERE.

Hestan Commercial Kicks Off 
Chinese American entrepreneur Stanley Cheng, founder of the largest cookware company in the U.S., is unveiling his latest culinary enterprise, Hestan Commercial. Cheng will open a state-of-the-art 70,000 square-foot facility aimed at producing the most advanced commercial kitchen appliances available. Cheng established the Meyer Corporation that makes iconic cookware brands including Anolon®, Circulon® and Farberware®.

Built entirely in the USA and with six utility patents and five design patents pending, Hestan Commercial is a contemporary kitchen line designed with input from some of the world's top chefs and leading kitchen designers. The industrial series is slated to roll out in spring; the outdoor and residential collection will follow in 2016.

Chef Thomas Keller was drawn to partner with Hestan Commercial Appliances because of his ardent support of American based manufacturers and entrepreneurs. Hestan's commitment to excellence in design, a principle synonymous with his restaurants, including The French Laundry and Per Se is another key component to this partnership.

Hestan Commercial's lineup includes freestanding ranges, island suites, countertop equipment, convection ovens, griddles, char broilers, French tops, hot tops, planchas, salamanders, cheesemelters, fryers, pasta cookers and refrigerated bases.

Second Harvest Food Bank Receives Donation of Truckload of Chicken from Tyson Foods and Champions for Kids
Champions for Kids and Tyson Foods, Inc. donated a truckload of chicken to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. The food bank provides food assistance to 300,000 in the region; nearly one-third of those are children. The donation is one of two donation events in fulfillment of the second annual "Be a Hunger Hero" campaign.

Meat and poultry are nutrient dense foods and, according to health experts, can be especially helpful to people who need more protein including children and seniors. According to food banks nationwide, meat is the most requested and least available food item.

"Champions for Kids is proud to partner with Tyson Foods in a shared effort to help meet the needs of children and families across America," said Adelaide Schaeffer, President and CEO of Champions for Kids. "When you give time or resources to your local food bank, you not only help families in your community—you can also amplify your impact by teaching your children the importance of giving to others in need and fostering a lifelong habit of generosity."

Tyson Foods has been an active participant in the fight against hunger for a decade, donating nearly 100 million pounds of protein, or the equivalent of 300 million meals. The company partners with Share Our Strength, Lift Up America, Feeding America, and the League of United Latin American Citizens to raise awareness and help feed the hungry across the nation. The company's current "KNOW Hunger" campaign is focused on helping more people understand and join the effort to eliminate hunger in America.

All Trends & News from the Culinary World in Chef Magazine's January/February Digital Issue - Read Now
Don't miss the latest Chef digital issue: NOW VIEWABLE ON all devices...

To start reading, please click HERE.

Make sure you sign up for your complimentary subscription of Chef Digital, which is delivered directly into your inbox each & every month.

Did you miss an issue? Catch back up with our digital archives.