Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sustainable, Traceable, Fresh and Right at the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week Launch

The continued demand for fresh seafood comes with a call for increased responsibility and accountability. Overfishing and marine degradation pose real threats and a cause for serious concern among food, hotel and restaurant businesses. Industry leaders need to come together to address the rapid depletion of the ocean's finite resources, and they did for a second time at the launch of the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week, an industry initiative created to find a better way in the management of marine resources.

At the very core of the Sustainable Seafood Week's initiative is an adherence to doing things right, from traceability, the protection of endangered marine species, sustainable practices without the use of destructive and harmful fishing techniques, and harvesting right-sized catches and excluding juvenile fish. Harvesting the freshest seafood, and doing it right were once again reiterated at the launch of the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week last January 16, 2017 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom. It's an advocacy that continues to gain ground, and just in time too...

The 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week is anchored on a multi-stakeholder approach to achieve its various goals encompassing a variety of channels including laws, execution, grassroots community-building, procurement guidelines and responsibly built supply chains, sustainable seafood policies, public awareness and education.

During the launch, the country's top hotels and restaurants showcased the rich and bountiful ocean harvest of the day's freshest catch while adhering to the principles of responsible management, traceability, and sustainable practices that benefit not only the local marine reserve, but local fishing communities as well.

Since the first Sustainable Seafood Week's successful launch last year, this year's second edition marked the renewed commitment from the country's top hotels and restaurants in pursuing responsible fishing practices. This not only ensures diners get the freshest catch, it also sustains the environment with a more long-term approach for seafood buyers, users, and consumers.  

Christian Schmidradner, General Manager of Meliomar Inc., the leading proponent of the sustainable seafood initiative, highlighted the increasing interest in this year's second edition of Sustainable Seafood Week. "There are more participants this year, more hotels and restaurants, educational institutions, retailers, NGOs, and other organizations. This shows the growing importance placed on the topic of responsible seafood sourcing, implemented traceability, legal fisheries, and improvement of fisheries and aquaculture management. We started this movement with the involvement of all stakeholders, and with so many more organizations involved, we can draw more attention to the topic", added Christian Schmidradner.

At the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week's launch, the food industry's leading institutions and the country's very best chefs and culinary professionals, came together for a timely cause, including Mirko De Giorgi of Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas (L) and Chef Philip John Golding (R) of Disciples of Escoffier.

Marriott Hotel's Executive Chef, Meik Brammer (center), joins other chefs in a toast to formally launch the country's 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week accompanied by the applause and cheers of the invited guests. "This event is important to Marriott because we want to reinforce our commitment to ensure that only fresh, sustainable seafood will be served to our guests. Serve Our World is one of Marriott's core values and guide on how we can do business. I will always support Sustainable Seafood because I want to support our local communities, I want to educate and inspire associates and guests to conserve and preserve" explained Executive Chef Meik Brammer.

Leave it to the Marriott Grand Ballroom to add some flair to the launch of the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week. After the ceremonial toast, Executive Chef Meik Brammer then unveiled the day's freshest and sustainable catch lowered down from the Marriott Grand Ballroom's high ceiling... lines quickly formed for plates of fresh shrimps to officially kick-off the 2nd edition of Sustainable Seafood Week. At the launch, some of the metro's best chefs prepared their seafood dishes, including Chef Jose Luis "Chele" Gonzalez (R) of Gallery Vask.

Discovery Primea's General Manager, David Pardo de Ayala and Chef Philip John Golding (L) of Disciples of Escoffier lend their support to a worthy cause, as Makati Shangri-La, Manila's Chef de Cuisine, Gilles Galli (R) and his staff showcased their elegant seafood dishes.

It's not very often to find all the best chefs in one place, and when that happens, you can expect some of the most inventive and creative seafood dishes... Discovery Primea's flavorful and playfully executed Shrimp Rolls served with a bag of crunchy Chippy topped with fresh shrimps...

... and Grind Bistro's fresh Seafood Tacos topped with indulgent fish roe. With the freshest seafood, all the dishes featured at the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week's launch delivered pure and clean flavors, just what you'd expect from responsibly caught fish using sustainable methods.

The 2nd Sustainable Seafood Launch also featured what seemed to be a crowd favorite from Grind Bistro...

...with its Seafood Lollipops, a refreshing creation with salmon and scallops topped with fish roe. Sweet and briny, the fresh flavors burst in your mouth without the usual fishy aftertaste.

And there's more. Much more. The versatility of fresh and sustainable seafood is highlighted by the wide variety of creative executions that please the palate with its bold yet delicate flavors interpreted in a wide array of tasty expressions at the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week launch.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila served their signature Paella on a grand scale, with a massive paellera requiring a team of chefs to get it just right. The soft and fluffy rice is infused with the rich flavors of the various seafood, and going back for seconds is pretty much guaranteed.

Chef Chele Gonzalez and his team from Gallery Vask featured innovative rice-based dishes with fresh seafood, including his tasty and crisp Rice Crackers with Crab and Seafood Mousse and the hearty Arroz Caldo with fresh Mahi-Mahi prepared with heirloom rice (R).  

In between bites, the Hyatt City of Dreams Manila's light and refreshing Tuna Nicoise was the perfect dish with its tart and briny notes to cleanse the palate. When the freshest seafood is used, even the simplest dish comes alive with rich and bold flavors.

A comforting pasta dish from Marriott Hotel Manila combines the delicate sweet notes of fresh seafood with the sunny and tart flavors of cherry tomatoes with its Potatoes Gnocchi Sauteed with Seafood and Cherry Tomatoes, another tasty option at the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week launch.

Chef Gilles Galli of Makati Shangri-La, Manila featured his Marinated Mackerel with a rich blend of spices packed and sealed in a container filled with aromatic smoke. Once you open the lid, a smoky fragrance is released and recreated with a bite of the tender mackerel.

The vibrant sweet, creamy and tart notes of Peruvian-style Ceviche (R) created by Samba's Chef de Cuisine, Carlo Huerta of Shangri-La at The Fort, provided guests a taste of the Peruvian classic. The Ceviche served that evening has layers of rounded yet distinct notes to highlight the freshness of the seafood.

Chef Tatung Sarthou of Agos Restaurant featured their signature Mahi-Mahi with Tausug Black Curry made with Burnt Coconut (L) representing local, regional flavors. And the list of the impressive dishes featured that evening goes on and on. Why not have a few shots of the refreshing Oyster Martini (R)...

...paired with fresh oysters on a half shell? The launch of the 2nd Sustainable Seafood Week at the Marriott Grand Ballroom allowed guests to savor the richness and diversity of flavors of the best local seafood, but more importantly, raised awareness for the growing threat of increasing demands on our fragile marine ecosystems. Enjoy your seafood fresh, and better yet, enjoy it the right way.

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