Quality and freshness in your ingredients provides a solid foundation for creating an exceptional culinary experience in every dish. Anthony Mendicino, the Regional Sales Manager (PA, NY, FL) for Samuels and Son Seafood, an industry purveyor for over 125 years, weighs in on how to maintain the quality of your fish.

1

Do Your Due Diligence 

Buying product on the blind that you are potentially going to serve your customers raw or undercooked is like allowing your child to be picked up and brought to a daycare that you’ve never visited. Schedule time to visit your purveyor's facility. Take a look at how they operate (e.g., the condition of the plant, their trucks, the way they handle product, what protective gear they wear when working with your food). Ask them about their food safety program, then note how they handle the question and what specific measures they have in place other than the basic requirements. 
2

Season Your Menu

I believe a locally caught day boat scallop will eat better than any luxury item (e.g., bluefin tuna, langoustine or live abalone) if the scallop is in peak season and the other products are not. Work with your purveyor to get updated information on what products are in peak season.  Plan “Market Driven” menus and specials whenever possible based on this information. You will not only be using the finest products on the market, but often the most affordable. 

3

Understand the Nuances

To ensure you are receiving the highest quality product, be aware of the different options the product can be purchased such as live, processed using Ike –Jime, bled, hook and line caught, day boat, diver caught, etc.  Each of these methods will impact the quality tremendously, in some cases you may even need to age or rest the fish for peak freshness.
4

Invest in the Whole Fish 

Buy your fish whole, but gutted, to preserve quality as opposed to fillets. It’s not feasible for most restaurants to buy a whole cow, pigs or lamb but a whole fish is not that difficult. The longer you can keep your fish on the bone the fresher it will be.
5

Keep It Cool 

Try to maintain the cold chain of the product at every stage of storage up until you cook it.  Common times when temperature abuse occurs at the restaurant level are during receiving, butchering, and on the line.
Based in Philadelphia, Samuels and Son Seafood has dedicated their business to serving chefs, retailers and restaurants throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West, West Coast and South Coast regions.