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Tuesday, May 06, 2008



Sigh, it's such a loss and a symbol isn't it? But it's so great to hear your thoughts on it, I always appreciate how you are able to connect both heart and mind in your stances on things. And I look forward to eating whatever you put on the plate this summer...


It is a sad situation. I commend your integrity and I'm sure you will have plenty of other delicious choices to offer your clients. You are in a unique market. Much of your clientelle knows what's going on in the food world and may have the same philosophy as yourself.


It is a sad situation. I commend your integrity and I'm sure you will have plenty of other delicious choices to offer your clients. You are in a unique market. Much of your clientelle knows what's going on in the food world and may have the same philosophy as yourself.


Perfect post, thank you. Being from Seattle, we saw this coming for years but it's sad that the day has finally arrived. Dept. of Land and Natural Resources is directly responsable for sanctioning rampant, irresponsable logging on state land. Anyone over the last 100 years could see that silt run-off was disturbing the natural fisheries. What to do in the face of such highly-educated ignorance/arrogance?

I totally honor your choice to not use farmed fish, as many do, I'm sure. It's a beautiful choice that I hope brings you lots of business. The fish farmers still do not understand that you can't cut corners and still have a healthy product, though hopefully they want to learn. That's why it would have been best to just let mother nature do the job and support her in her work, by respecting gestation seasons, etc...all things we were taught by the Native Americans but chose to ignore. And now it's everyone's loss.

Interestingly, Hawaiians were masters of land-based fish farming until their fisheries were filled in ! and cities built right on top of them.

Kenneth Berger

What's your justification for selling skate, monkfish, tuna, and sea scallops, given their predominantly "avoid" rating by seafood watch? I ask not to judge, but because I'm wrestling with the same thing: how to adjust when many of my favorite fish are now "forbidden." At least you can probably source your seafood more precisely than a consumer...


this is such a beautiful post. As I wrote last night, food is truly a personal decision, deeply inflected by the politics of it all. Here in Seattle, Alaskan salmon isn't quite as expensive as it is in SF, so we eat it. Besides, I have a connected relationship with Alaskan fishing families, as you do the fishermen at the market there. It really is about connections, too.

My chef struggles with these decisions too. We have a fish purveyor we trust, who has decades of personal connections with local fishermen. But those of us at home are rarely so keyed in. Thanks for keeping everyone informed.

Leon Mills

Interesting post and your comments on farmed salmon from Scotland. Here in the UK salmon and smoked salmon has become very affordable over the past 10 years. Every supermarket it has it from "trimmings" to a whole fish. Of course, all the cheaper stuff is all farmed in Scotland. It doesn't have the taste of non-farmed but it is surprising how somethign can go from a luxury item to a daily treat if desired

Amy Sherman

I respect your decision but don't agree with it. I believe sustainable and especially deep sea fish farming represent one of the best options for those of us who want to eat fish. We are depleting the oceans and while the ban on salmon fishing this year is a start, we need to look for other options. Loch Duart may not pass the test for you, but they are headed in the right direction as far as I'm concerned. From what I understand work is underway to develop organic guidelines for seafood and that should help make the decision to eat farmed fish much easier.


I commend you for staying in season and being so broadminded in your choices! And I would especially like to see spiny lobster. :)

But I gotta say: Salmon is over-served. It's the easy way out to serve fish in a restaurant. I know it's part of our 'culture' here in the BA, but so what? EVERY restaurant serves salmon (and most of it bad).

So it's too bad it's not a good year, but as you've said it's a great opportunity to educate some palates.



Kenneth, sorry for the delayed response. It's true, as a restaurant I have the luxury of sourcing my seafood more precisely than most consumers. The owner of one of my future purveyors, Monterey Fish, wrote the book on environmentally sustainable seafood (Fish Forever) that I cited in my post. Here are summaries of Paul Johnson's take on the fish you mentioned:

Skate: populations of winter, or spotted, skate are moderately healthy, while thorny skates are considered overfished. Skate are often taken as a bycatch and discarded during other fishing operations.

Monkfish: a 10-year recovery plan was implemented in 1999, so monkfish are no longer overfished and populations from Cape Cod north are considered healthy. Best to specify gill net caught monkfish.

Tuna: yellowfin and bigeye tuna are abundant. Pacific Yellowfin populations in particular are stable and not considered overfished. Best to specify troll or hook-and-line caught.

Sea Scallops: improvements have been made and every ship is required to carry monitoring devices and an onboard observer to ensure regulations are followed. Populations are now healthy and management excellent.

These are not the final words on the topic. I provide the information to illustrate the complexity of the situation and to show that good choices can be made if one has reliable, trustworthy information. Best of luck in your efforts to source the best, most sustainably caught seafood.


I definitely respect your leadership as a chef to not serve farmed fish. That said, I must admit I love Loch Duart salmon, and do buy it from time to time. It's luscious, and seems a cut above other farmed salmon and even as good as wild perhaps. Mostly I try to buy local and in season, but I sneak in exceptions and LD salmon is one.


I LOVE SAND DABS!! not enough places serve it; would run, not walk, to your place if you have them on the menu!

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  • sar·dine (n) 1. a young herring or similar small fish. 2. a metaphor for the small and often less well-known ingredients, restaurants, farmers, and artisans that San Francisco-based chef Brett Emerson writes about in this website.
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