food

3 Things to Know About Farmed Seafood

On April 3rd, 2019, The Global Salmon Initiative and The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership helped ICC kick off our whole month of event programming dedicated to promoting sustainability in food, farming and business practices to better understand your foodprint. 

The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) is a leadership initiative established by leading farmed salmon CEOs from around the world who share a vision of providing a healthy and sustainable source of protein to feed a growing population, while minimizing their environmental footprint, and continuing to improve their social contribution. Similarly, The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) aims to create differentiation in global seafood markets so that consumers can easily find and choose shrimp products produced to the highest environmental and social standards. This month, Jose Antonio Camposano of SSP and Avrim Lazar of GSI gave insightful presentations on how the farmed shrimp and salmon sectors are making sustainability a key attribute in delivering high quality products which benefit our oceans.

For instance, did you know that Ecuador is one of the best countries in the world to get farmed shrimp from? Their use of the “extensive farming” method means that less shrimp occupy their growing ponds than other countries. In Ecuador, you can find some of the world’s leading experts on seafood farming—they have extremely strict zoning policies and regulations against farming in or near natural habitats. Their vertical integration of farming companies, paired with their high level of uniform product are just some of the reasons why the quality of shrimp from Ecuador is almost unparalleled.

chef ned and chef gabriellaTo bring the conversation together and demonstrate how sustainable seafood can be used properly, the two organizations were joined by Chef Ned Bell—long-time sustainable seafood ambassador and Ocean Wise Executive Chef based at the Vancouver Aquarium—as well as Chef Gabriela Cepeda—the owner of La Central Deli Shop in Guayaquil and former Head Chef of the Presidential House in Ecuador for 4 years.

These two companies are founded on the principle that sustainability matters. Unfortunately, in farmed seafood, that isn’t always the case. There are many misconceptions that all farmed seafood is bad—that it’s raised in diseased-riddle habitats, the end ingredient is loaded with toxins and less nutritional value—the list could go on. In reality, there are pros and cons to almost every industry in the world, but educating yourself on organizations that are minimizing their environmental impact and changing the industry as we know it is key.

Below, find three facts that will illuminate your understanding of farmed seafood, and see why it’s vital for the health and wellness of our planet, and all of its inhabitants.

9 Billion People by 2050

shrimpYou read that right. The world’s population will reach 9 billion by 2050. As of April 2019, it’s estimated that the current world population is at 7.7 billion, so the 9 billion mark could be reached sooner than we think.

You may be asking yourself, why does this matter?

Global seafood consumption has more than doubled in the past 50 years, which has put real stress on the sustainability of fishing. According to a study from 2011, global demand for seafood that we eat (and not just use for other purposes) is 143.8 million tonnes per year, and the overall consumption footprint, which also includes other uses of seafood, is 154 million tonnes. To preserve our Earth, ocean & species, finding new food sources, and how we cultivate them, is imperative.

Protein Demand Will Double By 2050

Millions and millions of tonnes of seafood is consumed each year worldwide. As diets change, populations grow and resources are stressed, there will be less room for protein produced on land. By 2050, double the amount of protein will be consumed worldwide, which is another reason why sustainable aquaculture will play an important role in feeding the Earth’s population.

50% of Seafood is Farmed

country of origin labelingIn order to protect and support wild caught seafood—and also to meet the demand of consumption worldwide—over 50% of seafood is now farmed. This has its pros and cons. While it protects wild seafood from becoming over fished, many of the countries where seafood is farmed don’t have strict regulations like the US, resulting in negative effects on the environment. Knowing where your seafood comes from and asking if it was raised in a sustainable way can help to counteract this.

To check where the seafood originated, you can look at the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), which is required on all seafood sold in the US. Frozen seafood will have two labels: one to specify where the product was packaged and one that indicates where the seafood was caught or farmed. Be aware that it may seem like the seafood is from the US, but the label may be saying that it was packaged in the US.

Farmed seafood is not bad—in fact, it is helping to save many species from over fishing and is creating new ways to feed our growing population. But, it is important to keep in mind that not all farmed seafood is created equal. Finding companies like GSI and SSP who fight for properly farmed seafood regulations and practices is how this industry will grow into the next food movement that will change the world.

Additional Resources

“Farmed Seafood.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/industries/farmed-seafood.

“Homepage.” Global Salmon Initiative, globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/.

“SSP – Sustainable Shrimp Partnership.” SSP, www.sustainableshrimppartnership.org/.

staff, Science X. “How Much Fish Do We Consume? First Global Seafood Consumption Footprint Published.” Phys.org, Phys.org, 28 Sept. 2018, phys.org/news/2018-09-fish-consume-global-seafood-consumption.html.

riverpark demo

A Restaurant That’s Doing it Right: Riverpark

On April 10th, 2019, Executive Chef Andrew Smith and Farm Manager Jonathan Sumner of Riverpark helped ICC kick off our month of programming dedicated to promoting sustainability in food, farming and business practices to better understand our foodprint. In the past, our Professional Culinary Arts program with Farm-To-Table extension has visited Riverpark as a part of the program’s dedicated field trips for a personal tour of the farm with Chef Andrew and Farm Manager Jonathan. This time the farm was brought to ICC!

FARMING NEXT TO A FREEWAY

Riverpark is arguably one of the most unique restaurants in New York City. Situated in the middle of a concrete office plaza with East River views, it’s hard to understand what a feat it is to grow ingredients worthy of a fine-dining restaurant next to the 10 mile freeway that is the FDR. Somehow, they still manage to create a dynamic environment for ingredients to flourish year-round and produce new, seasonal menus daily.

The restaurant is in it’s 9th year—8th season for the farm—and is still producing over 100 varieties of vegetables in milk crates each year. Yes, actual milk crates. This mobile method allows Farm Manager Jonathan to rotate the crops to account for unstable wind, sun exposure & more, while a drip irrigation system that was created specifically for the milk crates helps to water the plants without flooding them and depleting them of their nutrients.

With growing conditions as difficult as this, it makes sense that Riverpark’s menu focuses on using whole ingredients and featuring their farm-grown produce at the center of the plate. Sustainability runs through the DNA of the restaurant—so it’s no surprise that their demonstration dove into what it means to use an ingredient in it’s entirety and think about the different ways a single product can be used.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

Looking at plants & animals as a whole and respecting the ingredient is something that is ingrained into Chef Andrew. When Farm Manager Jonathan provides him with fresh vegetables from their “backyard,” or a delivery of farm-raised lamb arrives to the kitchen, it makes sense to use the whole spring onion from root to stem or every part of the lamb saddle. Chef Andrew stresses that often, the parts of the ingredients that are thrown out have the most flavor. Over $165 billion dollars in food waste is thrown out each year, when in reality, a lot of this waste could be re-purposed in kitchens, composted or used to feed those who are going hungry.

While it may be intimidating to break down a lamb saddle (the whole loin of a lamb)—and maybe not the most practical for everyday home cooking—you are able to get much more product by breaking down the animal yourself and it’s extremely doable when learned correctly. Furthermore, different parts of the animal can be re-purposed for various dishes or even frozen to be used in the future.

In addition to the popular “snout to tail” movement, it’s also important to emphasize “root to stem” cooking. As Chef Andrew broke down a whole lamb saddle for the audience, he prepared side dishes featuring produce from the farm to accompany the meat. While chopping the spring onions for garnish, Chef also utilized the roots of the spring onion for a fried crispy topping, and also shared that you can dehydrate the tops to create an onion powder.

As the world becomes more populated and resources are depleted, it is important to think of new ways to feed hungry diners around the world. As chefs, it is even more vital to respect the ingredient that you’re given and work with it to use as much of it as you can. Today, the relationship between farm-to-table is expanding, and restaurants like Riverpark give us hope for these models to thrive in urban communities.

Library Notes: Local Roots + Local Farms [February 2017]

Written by Sara Quiroz
ICC Librarian

In this edition of library notes, we will highlight some selections from Local Roots Founder and Friend of the Library, Wen-Jay Ying. Do you know about Local Roots NYC? It is a CSA or community supported agriculture connecting New Yorkers with fresh produce and other goodies from local farms. We have a pick up location right here at ICC! When Wen-Jay isn’t trekking up to farms, maintaining the super fun social profiles or producing her radio show, Food Stripped Naked she sometimes does her admin work right out of the ICC library! If you want to bring a #soiltocity perspective into your own kitchen, check out her recommended reading list below, all available for circulation here in the library.

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The Food Lab by J.Kenji Lopez-Alt

Last year’s James Beard Award Winner, this book covers just about anything and everything in the culinary world. With essential techniques, ingredient advice and tasty, very well tested recipes it could easily be your only cookbook. It also makes an excellent starter for new homecooks but still has the science and test kitchen detail to intrigue seasoned chefs. Wen-Jay particularly loves that he explains both how and why various food preparations work.

The Food Substitutions Bible by David Joachim

This guide contains simple substitutions for any ingredient, equiptment or technique you may be missing from Atemoya to a zester. This book is important to Wen-Jay because sometimes trying to cook with only local ingredients can make recipes feel confining, but learning the substitutions can give you more flexibility in the kitchen and empower you to be a versatile chef with your Local Roots NYC produce.  “Cooking does not need high-end appliances or an infinite supply of spices or specific vegetable varieties. Let your taste buds and this book guide you to be more flexible in the kitchen, “ said Wen-Jay.

The Frugal Colonial Housewife by Susannah Carter

This book is also one of my favorites and a fun glimpse into the past through food. It was the first truly American cookbook published in the colonies, back when everyone was trying to recreate British style cooking. Carter introduced local ingredients which new arrivals from England weren’t familiar with such as pumpkin and corn. Something unique you will notice is that the style of writing recipes was very different. They offer vague ingredient description (something green, a piece of meat) as it was difficult to produce specific items. The instruction is also much less detailed than we expect today, most women learned everything from their families and never needed written instruction on technique. Says Wen-Jay, “Love that Sara introduced me to this cookbook when interviewing her on my radio show! People used to cook with stripped down recipes because everyone had basic culinary skills and “farm to table” was the only way to cook.”

The Kitchen Ecosystem by Eugenia Bone
“LOCAL ROOTS NYC LOVES SUSTAINABLE COOKING! We recently hosted a cooking club because 85% of food waste happens on the consumer end between home chefs, restaurants, etc.” said Wen-Jay. If you find yourself in that very predicament, pick up the Kitchen Ecosystem. Bone explains sustainable meal planning and various ways to use every ingredient. For each item listed, she details how to prepare it fresh, how to preserve it and how to use scraps then lists several recipes for each incarnation. Organized by ingredient, The Kitchen Ecosystem covers produce, fish and meat with enough variations to suit every palate.

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Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

For a guide on successfully providing excellent hospitality and to understand the success of Meyers ventures, check out Setting the Table. He lays out his philosophy of “enlightened hospitality” or connecting deeply with customers through small details, creating a nurturing work culture and building community. Says Wen-Jay, “At Local Roots NYC, we believe that constantly reimagining our food system is necessary for its longevity. We’ve reimagined the traditional CSA model and continue to mature and mo It brings us joy to show appreciation to our customers and have built meaningful relationships with our customers and producers with some practices mentioned in this book.”
The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry

Wen-Jay considers this seminal text her bible and tries to read some every morning. This book was the inspiration for much of the Local Roots value system. Barry considers good farming to be a cultural development and a spiritual discipline. Says Wen-Jay, “He emphasizes the importance of regional systems, making decisions not based on short term needs but long term commitments, and makes parallels between the health of farms with the vitality in life.”

How did you like our guest contributor? Who else would you like to see a reading list from, contact Sara the Librarian with your suggestions squiroz@culinarycenter.com and follow the library on Instagram for more @IntlCulLibrary

Local Roots NYC + The Farm-to-Table Experience

Here at the International Culinary Center, we offer the Farm-to-Table extension to our Culinary program. If you are interested in local foods, farming and sustainability, this could be a great option for you. To be a Farm-to-Table chef, one must first be an excellent chef. Everyone we work with emphasizes this, the primary objective is to build the skills and techniques necessary for success in a professional kitchen. With Farm-to-Table, in addition to these essential classes, we offer a series of enrichment activities throughout your time at ICC. While they take a slightly different form each session as the local food movement grows and evolves, they always include field trips, lectures and events with fascinating innovators in the field.

We recently had one such talk from Wen-Jay Ying, founder of Local Roots CSA. What is Local Roots? Local Roots has re-imaging the traditional CSA model to fit the needs of everyday New Yorkers and created a new food system within the city. The ordering process is very simple and available online. Pickups are at various bars, cafes and workplaces throughout the city (Including ICC! Stop by the library if you would like to join!) and most importantly, the company is driven by core values and focused on community building.

During her talk, Wen-Jay invited our Farm-to-Table group to spend some time reflecting upon what each of them holds as a core value system and we then spent time discussing it afterward. This is a useful exercise for any chef who is just starting out. Wen-Jay shared the Local Roots value statement and guided our group through developing their own.  We reflected on questions such as What is your value system as a chef? and What solution do you offer to our food system or dining culture? The answers were as diverse as our group, some focused on education of children, some on health and others on bringing joy and creativity through dining. “Write these down, and keep them with you,” said Wen-Jay, “Because once you are out in industry, it’s so easy to have a hard day where you feel like giving up but you have to remember your motivation and why you started.”

This is excellent advice, perhaps even the key to longevity in the kitchen and a sustainable career. Local Roots pick up is available at ICC every Tuesday afternoon. You can sign up in the library or check here for more info: http://localrootsnyc.org/

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Professional Culinary Arts + Farm-To-Table

ICC’s Culinary Arts + Farm-To-Table program does more than give our students a competitive edge in the marketplace—it provides firsthand insight to this powerful movement and builds on your chef training. By exploring how food is grown, raised, packaged and distributed, you’ll gain a better understanding of how quality ingredients make it to the kitchen and be better able to make informed choices for your own dishes. ICC’s Farm-To-Table program will forever change the way you think about the link between food production and the way we eat.

fatm-to-table veggies

Take Your Learning Outside the Classroom

Whether you attend our New York or California campus, your farm-to-table learning will extend beyond the classroom to include field trips to local farms, markets, and more. You’ll get your hands in the dirt, learning about local farming and sustainable agriculture from experts on the front lines of the industry.

In New York: Participate in the Farm-Powered Kitchen Program

Students at our New York campus will have the unique opportunity to participate in our seven-day Farm-Powered Kitchen program. Designed by Dan Barber (ICC grad and James Beard Outstanding Chef), Blue Hill, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, the Farm-Powered Kitchen program builds on the foundational knowledge gained in the classroom by exposing students to all aspects of the farm.

In California: Come Face-to-Face with Farming

One of the early leaders in the farm-to-table movement, California supplies almost half of the country’s fruits and vegetables—making it the perfect place for passionate students to come face-to-face with farming like never before. Located near Salinas Valley, one of The Golden State’s most productive agricultural regions, ICC’s one-of-a-kind program gives students incredible access to large-scale commercial operations, artisan farms, ranches, dairies and markets. With dynamic field trips and opportunities to pick the brains of farm workers, ranchers, policymakers and other experts, the Culinary Arts + Farm-To-Table program prepares students to become the next leaders in the sustainable culinary field.

Advance Your Culinary Career at ICC

If you’re interested in farm-to-table cuisine or want to expand your culinary knowledge to gain a competitive edge, enroll in the Culinary Arts + Farm-To-Table program at our New York or California campus, or complete the form on this page to get more information.