ChewsWise Blog

ChewsWise Blog

Clare Whacks a Chef with a Fish

Dear Chef-You-Know-Who-You-Are,

I figured our telephone conversation the other day might be awkward. Confrontation usually isn’t my thing. That’s why I’m a food-writer and not an investigative journalist. Believe me, no one was more surprised than me to discover you have bluefin tuna on the menu so brazenly, nestled right between the locally farmed oysters and beautiful organic greens from a nearby farm. I could have accidentally thought you were into sustainable ingredients. Silly me. So when I called you to ask “Why do you have bluefin tuna on the menu?” Uh, it wasn’t to chat with you about the fat content and deliciousness of the fish like you assumed.  It’s because everyone – including my 80-year old mother in the middle of Iowa – is aware of the demise of this spectacular fish.

I’d like to give you a pass because you simply didn’t know, but frankly? You’re in the industry. You talk to your fish purveyor frequently. And telling me that you only sell four pounds a week didn’t really make me feel better about spotting it on your list of offerings. Worse? You shared with me -- an identified reporter -- that half the time, you can’t get bluefin and that you’re substituting yellowfin. I was just wondering, Chef, if your customers aware of that? Or in addition to serving an extremely overfished species, you’re duping your diners as well? Because you see, when you said, “Well, it’s delicious, and that can win over my conscience,” that sorta sealed the deal for me on whether or not I’ll ever be calling you for a source in one of my stories, or if I’ll bring a group of friends to your place. The chances are pretty slim, you know, just so you know.

And if you’re wondering how I found out about your menu item in the first place? I came across this chill website called FoodieBytes. Have you heard of it? It’s got a cool feature where I can just go to “food search” and type in things like bluefin tuna, monkfish or shark’s fin and find restaurants in cities like Chicago, Washington DC and San Francisco that boast about them on the menu.

So, hey. Thanks for your time, but I’ve got few other calls to make.

Clare Leschin-Hoar