“Seafood Professor.” That’s what we’ve decided to call Barton Seaver after receiving an advance copy of his new book, American Seafood, which covers ever species of fish on earth. It’s encyclopedic and a fascinating read.
And Barton’s a fascinating person. After serving as executive chef for a group of restaurants in Washington, DC, he now leads the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is Senior Advisor for Sustainable Seafood Innovations at the University of New England.
He’s been a National Geographic Explorer and was apponted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to served on the U.S. Culinary Ambassador Corp. He grew up in the Chesapeake and now lives in Maine. We discussed sustainability and why regional identity is important starting with his backyard (back sea?) lobsters from Maine.
What’s the recipe for running the food department at one of the most respected magazine brands in the nation? We receive an inside peak from Susan Westmoreland, Food Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI), one of the most trusted sources for consumer product evaluation for over a century (GHI was established in 1900). GHI evaluates thousands of products for Good Housekeepingmagazine which reaches 24 million readers each month.
At the Good Housekeeping test kitchen at Hearst Tower, Susan and her team produce all content, create recipes and test, taste and test again and again (an average of three times) for the magazine, special issues, cookbooks and special projects. And we’re wondering: How does she keep turkey topics fresh year after year for the Thanksgiving issue? We discuss in this edition of The Connected Table LIVE!
We’re heartsick over the devastating fires that are still burning in Napa and Sonoma counties and southern California. So many industry friends have been impacted, and we’re still learning which wineries have been destroyed. I was just in Calistoga a few weeks ago celebrating at The Harvest Table with the local vintners. Despite the surprise heat wave, everyone was in a happy mood. And now this. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone. If you want to send help for evacuees, Public Relations Pro Kimberly Charles has set up a GoFundMe Page. Here are the link and message from Kimberly:
Napa and Sonoma counties in Northern California are undergoing an unprecedented series of fires, over 60 recorded in the last 48 hours. One of California’s oldest wineries perished last night and several others have been completely lost. The wine community is one of the most giving, generous groups who give to charity constantly, now it’s our turn to help. We have worked with wineries in California closely for over 30 years and right now have identified a group of shelters in who are accepting evacuees. They need hard goods, not money -cots, sleeping bags, non perishable foods, hygienic items, kids’ pyjamas. We are raising money to buy these items and drive them up this week to the distribution center at Mentor Me at the Cavanagh Rec Center which is sheltering 500 evacuees currently. They are networked with 10 other shelters to distribute goods. We plan on raising funds, buying goods and delivering them right away this week. Link: https://www.gofundme.com/fire-relief-napa-sonoma-counties
And, if your emotions are as raw as ours from all the bad news, we encourage you to read Lettie Teague‘s October 5th Wall Street Journal article: “How Wine Sustains Us Through Tragedy and Helps Us Reclaim Joy.” Read here: link.
It seems like the last several weeks have delivered us one disaster after another starting with Hurricane Harvey in Texas; then Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and Florida, and now the tragic massacre in Las Vegas. It’s hard to be rah rah about this and that culinary event or new product launch when so many people have died, are displaced or hungry. Hearts are heavy; souls are aching, and we try to be sensitive to it all while going about our daily business.
While politicians talk among themselves to try to work out answers, the nation simmers and questions starting with “Why?” and “How long?” and “How much more can we take of this?” Congress could take months and years to make decisions. But the food and beverage industry can make a difference in just a few weeks.
Leave it to chefs like José Andrés and Jose Enrique to arrange a team to cook thousands of meals for the displaced and hungry in Puerto Rico while the island waits for food supplies to be adequately distributed in hard hit areas.
Leave it to Ti Adelaide Martin, and Alex Brennan- Martin to spearhead a fundraising effort with the Louisiana Restaurant Association and Greater New Orleans Foundation to help hospitality workers affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, raising over $160,000. And that amount does not include the nationwide Dineout that took place on October 2 with dozens of restaurants to raise even more funds for this cause.
Leave it to bar community activists like Speed Rack Co-Founder and Bartender Lynnette Marrero, Journalist Jenny Adams, and Alba Huerta, Owner/Operator of Julep in Houston, TX, to rally their colleagues to organize “NYC LOVES TX & FL” on September 24 to raise over $60,000 for the John Besh Foundationfor disaster relief.
These just a few small servings of the large effort this industry does, and continues to do, to help humanity. When tragedy strikes, the food, beverage and hospitality industry cooks up a plan to do something and does not drag its heels. We stir the pot where others cannot. Maybe the Executive Branch could learn a few management trucs from Executive Chefs, Restaurateurs and Bar Owners. Perhaps we need a Commander- in -Chef.