Boston blog: Eager to get underway
By April Forristall, SeafoodSource assistant editor
10 March, 2013
1 p.m. — Johnson & Wales University culinary student Mary Johnson-Clause won the sixth annual Creative Clam Challenge held by SeaWatch International.
Johnson-Clause’s Dive Right In Clam Burger bested Culinary Institute of America student Justin Kellogg’s Clam Kale Tabbouleh. Johnson-Clause took home the grand prize of USD 2,500 (EUR 1,900), while Kellogg won USD 1,000 (EUR 760).
“This is surreal,” said Johnson-Clause. “I had never even heard of the International Boston Seafood Show and it’s this awesome and amazing thing and I feel like I’m dreaming right now. [Winning] is very humbling.”
Johnson-Clause’s burger started out as a clam loaf (similar to meat loaf) but, she said, while the meat was coming out perfect, the loaves were “hard as a brick.”
“So I tried a burger, and then my test dummy — my husband — suggested I try stuffing it. So I picked all my favorite things: bacon, jalapenos and cheddar cheese and it was awesome.”
Just under 700 IBSS attendees participated in the voting from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the SeaWatch booth (No. 423) to crown Johnson-Clause the winner.
12 p.m. — Dan Lee, Best Aquaculture Practices standards coordinator stopped by the SeafoodSource/SeaFood Business media booth (No. 1300) to talk about the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices new, rigorous social responsibility standards.
A lot of bases have been covered in regards to the environment, said Lee, so that means that other issues are now coming to the forefront, including reoccurring issues like child labor and forced labor.
“When people feel like we’ve covered those bases, then we’ll move on to something else,” said Lee. “We want to make sure we’re reacting to those issues that are getting attention and keeping people in the trade awake at night and trying to find those assurances and solutions.”
The number of clauses addressing social responsibility has jumped from 12 to 33, with the public comment period ending on 31 January. The new standards are expected to go live this spring.
12 p.m. — Hunger-fighting organization SeaShare announced it named the National Fisheries Organization its donor of the year for its consistent efforts to improve nutrition for hungry Americans.
“NFI and its member companies have made a real difference for thousands of hungry families,” said Jim Harmon, SeaShare executive director. “They have been generous, innovative donors for several years, and we appreciate the opportunity to recognize NFI as our donor of the year.”
11 a.m. — “Schmooze it or lose it.” That was just one of the tips, Charlotte Klein Sasso, owner of Stuart’s Seafood Market gave fellow independent seafood retailers at the Independents Day conference.
Sasso said that it’s becoming “hip” again to shop at small businesses and the biggest benefit independent retailers have over supermarkets is their personal relationships with customers.
“Seafood is still a luxury product and people don’t want to entrust their purchases to some kid making minimum wage down at the Safeway,” said Sasso. “They want a specialized place where someone has taken the time to learn and keep current and to really work hard to present the best product they can give.”
9:45 a.m. — Just before the show opened, I talked with first-time exhibitor, Seachill’s The Saucy Fish Co. Already a leader in the U.K. and recently named a finalist in this year’s Seafood Excellence New Products contest, the brand has chosen this year to make its debut in the U.S.
The company found that the biggest barriers for consumers when it comes to buying fish are fear and a lack of inspiration. By being convenient without being a ready meal the company’s sauce and fish pairings appeal to both.
And the research has paid off. In just three years, the company has seen massive growth, now being sold in 80 percent of U.K. grocery stores. The company now sells about USD 2 million weekly, and 50 percent of that — according to Simon Smith, sales and marketing manager for the company — is incremental sales.
“Anyone who stocks us will sell more fish,” said Smith.
9:30 a.m. — The 2013 International Boston Seafood Show is underway. Thirty minutes before the show floor opens, attendees are already crowded around the doors to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, eager to see what’s new this year.
10 March, 2013