Cookery book writer, chef, restaurateur and all round USA TV celebrity, John Besh has been letting Lucky Peach in on why the Gulf of Mexico should be put on the seafood map. We pick up on the main reasons why Besh is 'going for Gulf.'
Whilst the Gulf of Mexico is no stranger to hitting the global headlines for negative environmental reasons, Besh puts a positive spin on it's unique geography. He tells Lucky Peach that the combination of the warm Gulf waters and the fresh waters of the rivers that empty into the Gulf create a nutrient rich environment, perfect for a rich bounty of seafood.
Photo: The Gulf of Mexico
Mississippi-born, and Louisiana-bred Besh has more than a passing interest in the Gulf area. An active campaigner championing seafood from the Gulf, Besh has put his money where his mouth is founding a non-profit organization (The John Besh Foundation) seeking to protect and preserve the culinary heritage and food ways of the Gulf Coast region as well as New Orleans.
Questioned by Lucky Peach on why exactly we should be eating Seafood from the Gulf, Besh gives two eloquently put responses, firstly “if we don’t, we’re going to lose it” and secondly because it’s the home to some of the ‘most delicious seafood on the planet.’ Besh embellishes on the unique selling point of seafood from the gulf being the ‘sweetness' that almost 'perfumes' it.
Besh lets the scales fall from our eyes and gets us to think not only seasonally about fish but about some little used fish. His personal all-time favourite being the ‘tripletail’ which he affectionately calls the 'blackfish', ‘Its flesh is white and flaky, but at the same time there’s a lot of texture, and it’s one of the most delicate-tasting fish out there’.
A tripletail fish, otherwise known as a blackfish (Photo by Doug Olander, Sport Fishing Magazine)
Head over to Lucky Peach for the full interview and the lowdown on where Besh goes for the best oyster po’boys and how he likes to cook his tripletail.
Besh is not alone in his efforts to champion local and seasonal seafood with a big drive already in place from some of the big names in cooking. Twenty of the best chefs in the world pledged to save our oceans back in March at a conference in Spain along with Oceana. The gathered chefs, from Gaston Acurio to Massimo Bottura all pledged to concentrate on cooking smaller fish.
Listen to Andrew Sharpless the CEO of Oceana to understand more about the issues:
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