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Reel Talk with Beard Award Winner Andrea Reusing

C+C Communications

October 31, 2017

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Photo: Lissa Gotwals

The holiday season is nearly upon us, and that means a lot more time spent around the dinner table. Whether you’re planning on setting the table yourself, or dining out with the whole family, JBF and our Smart Catch partner, C+C, are serving up some inside scoops from chefs cooking on the front lines of sustainable seafood. Below, the team at C+C catches up with North Carolina’s JBF Award–winning chef Andrea Reusing on how eating gives us the power to do good, her motivation for becoming a chef, and why sustainable also means delicious. 

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Sustainability can sometimes be seen as a buzzword, but for Andrea Reusing sustainability is at the core of every meal she serves. She believes the very act of eating gives us a daily chance to positively impact our environment. And, as she puts it, just because sustainable choices are virtuous doesn’t mean they’re not delicious. Joining the Smart Catch program gave Reusing more visibility into the sourcing of her seafood and made sustainable (and delicious) choices that much easier.

Smart Catch launched in June and is designed to help both chefs and diners access a greater variety of sustainable seafood options. Chefs who sign up commit to ensuring that more than 80-percent of the seafood on their menu is sustainably sourced. We’re diving into our third round of Reel Talk with Lantern and the Durham chef Andrea Reusing to hear about what Smart Catch has taught her, and why you should cook mussels at home.

C+C: Why did you want to become a chef?

Andrea Reusing: To cook food grown by people I love.

C+C: Why is sustainability important to you?

AR: Eating real food is one of our last tangible connections to the planet, and one of the few daily decisions we have that can make positive change in the world.

C+C: What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned as part of the Smart Catch program?

AR: Smart Catch helps chefs by putting the onus on fishers and other suppliers to provide clarity on species, catch location, gear type, and more. It's an essential step in the shift towards transparency, and the interesting part is that it's not as complicated as it seems.

C+C: What is your favorite sustainable seafood dish right now?

AR: At the Durham we are doing Sheepshead à l'Américaine. Sheepshead eat a lot of crustaceans and have a great, rich flavor so we use shrimp heads, Cognac, and a little cream to make the sauce.

C+C: What do you think is the most common misconception about sustainability and seafood?

AR: The most common misunderstanding is that because it's virtuous it's also somehow not delicious. For example, clams and mussels are literally some of the best-tasting things you can eat, and can also be some of the most sustainable protein sources available. 

C+C: Knowing that the majority of Americans consume seafood at restaurants, what would you recommend those who are inspired to cook at home start with?

AR: Mussels! Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat unit very hot and add mussels with a little oil and sea salt, toasting the shells and tossing until most of them are open. Turn off the heat and add some room-temperature butter and a little more salt. 

C+C: If you could give one piece of advice to an upcoming chef, what would it be?

AR: Cook what you love to eat yourself.

C+C: What's the fish you wish everyone knew more about and served?

AR: I love speckled sea trout—if you've never eaten it, picture a small salmon with creamy white flesh that is crisp and lean in springtime and fatty in fall. 

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Get a taste of Andrea's cooking with her recipe for steamed black drum with mussels.

Learn more about Smart Catch.

C+C is a communications firm that specializes in mission driven campaigns. Find out more at cplusc.com.