It really is no secret that I have been involved in a couple of social movements here in Chicago.
The first is that I have been working on bringing down the legislative ban that prevents mobile food trucks from roaming our streets in the fashion of New York, Los Angeles, and many other cities. Along with another soon to be named chef, we have the wheels rolling with aldermen and city hall to hopefully bring an end to the most embarrassing food service related ban in Chicago since the foie gras debacle.
More of the moment, I have just finished meeting with a research fish biologist from Missouri who specializes in Asian carp. He has re-assured me further that there is no more danger in consuming Asian carp than most if not all locally caught fish. It is more healthy, and better tasting than catfish, large mouth bass, or whitefiish. I learned a great deal this afternoon and have some seminars and dinners already planned on the topic in the near future.
So why am I getting behind this fish? Although I’d like not to believe it, this has to detract from some of the other cuisine we have going on here.
Are we making money on it? No.
Do I think this will sprout up in other high achieving restaurants? I doubt it.
The reason is because I consider it a social responsibility for sustainably minded citizens to consume the fish. In all actuality, sustainable is probably not powerful enough of a term to use. It is more ‘preventative cuisine‘ than sustainable since they are destroying the waters and fishing removes them from the waters.
In my eyes, one cannot complain about the measures being taken to keep them out of the Great Lakes if one is going to the market and picking up halibut, salmon, or even sustainably farmed fish for dinner that evening. Of course at the moment there isn’t much option since it isn’t really found anywhere. Some make the argument that if we create a market for it, farms will sprout up. The answer is that we are ludicrously far away from that happening.
There are machines that remove the bones from the fish, and I could easily see them mass produced for institutional cooking and casual food concepts. This is what I want to see. A MARKET FOR IT!!!! And perhaps by proving that it is a high quality product, there can be a trickle down effect.
As I said, this is not going to re-invent the wheels of fine dining, and that isn’t the point of this project.
So, to bring attention, we will now give away a small appetizer portion at dinner to any and all guests who wish to try it. No catches, no strings attached, no cost. If you wish to order more, that’s your prerogative. If not, that is too.
The one request I have is that you report on your experience. Leave a comment here, on Open Table, on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, or wherever. The dish may change, but to book a reservation, call 312-917-3404 or visit here. I will keep this offer going for at least the remainder of this week. Pass the word!