Why buy local and sustainable? As a chef of 29 years, and more importantly, a father for 13 years, the importance of buying local and sustainable becomes more clear each day.
(Which by the way my son’s name is Maiko; naming him after a shark with a different spelling because of my love and passion for the ocean and all fish species).
As a kid, I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s-which yes, makes me a "Gen X”, but not a "boomer", as my son likes to call me.
Unlike the kids today, I feel that being born in this time era hindered my knowledge and opportunity of education regarding sustainability, However, living and traveling throughout the world allowed me a different perspective and eventually opened my eyes to how we live; and how we should live.
I live and work as a chef in Sonoma County- which was, and still is, a chef’s dream. Only an hour from the infamous California coast line, and access to local farms, wineries, chicken & dairy ranches, cheese makers, olive growers, and farmers markets- some of the best chefs in the world could only dream of calling this home... I too, felt the same way. My passion for cooking was a huge factor in why I chose Sonoma County as the backdrop to practice my culinary skills, but the decision was made for the upmost important thing in my life; raising my son.
I had a restaurant in the town of Sonoma for 12 years, a local sushi bar called "Shiso". As someone who has been around fish, and has always practiced a core value of "quality over quantity", it was imperative to bring sustainable products to my guests. I continued to practice and take pride with this concept, even after I sold the restaurant and ultimately joined the "Catering World". I perpetually asked myself, How can I educate my guests, even friends, on fresh sustainable fish? And why they should be choosing this over mass-produced, or even farmed?
Doctors, nutritionists, health coaches, you name it...all encourage eating more fish or integrating more fish within our diets. We constantly hear and read about "healthy eating" and the importance of nutritional value, but in reality, some fish sold in grocery stores are actually not "real". Ironically, the number of additives, hormones, antibiotics, dyes, C02 or gas -and lots of other unknown substances- all find there way into our mass-produced fish factories, making them have little to none nutritional value.
In efforts to educate myself, and ultimately decide what is best for not only my guests, but for the health of my own family, I have read a lot of books on the notion of sustainability.
(The End of The Line by Charles Clover, The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken, Ecological Literacy by Michael K Stone and Zenobia Barlow- just to name a few).
In my readings- this concept of sustainability was continuous, and it all seemed as common sense to me. So, I chose to find local, line caught, sustainable fish to land on family tables locally and try my best to do some good in our crazy world. Which by the way as I write this, we are experiencing Covid-19, the worst wild fires on record EVER in California, Oregon and Washington. Early hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region and air quality in Portland Oregon that is recorded as the worst in the entire country due to the wild fires. In California we have had a record of 29 days of poor air quality higher than our normal air quality index. So YES- lets try our best to save the planet, one fish at a time.