September 19, 2013
Eating the Ecosystem Dinner to Feature Lesser Known Gulf of Maine Seafood Species
The second segment of this fall’s Eating with the Ecosystem local seafood dinner series will celebrate the lesser known seafood species of the rich yet changing Gulf of Maine ecosystem. The dinner will be hosted at Lumeire in Newton, Mass. on October 8th.
Eating with the Ecosystem is a traveling dinner series that brings together chefs, commercial fishermen, marine scientists, and diners to build a shared connection to our local marine ecosystems through food. Through these gatherings, the project crafts a deeper understanding of what it takes to make our local seafood — and our local fishing industry — sustainable.
Chef Michael Leviton’s creative menu will showcase a diverse sampling of seafood items from Gulf of Maine waters. The menu is tentatively slated to include:
- Crispy Alewives with Pickled Ramp Remoulade
- Sake Poached Monkfish Liver Torchon with Apple, Radish and Kohlrabi Salad, Ponzu and Shiso Oil
- White Hake with Roasted Root Vegetables and Spiced Yogurt Vinaigrette
- Caramelized Apple Tart with Sour Cream Sorbet and Cider Sauce
“This is a unique opportunity to highlight what’s here in our backyard,” explains Leviton. “We want to support our local fishermen, and that means looking beyond cod. If we as chefs can show that there are other delicious foods from the ocean, we can contribute to the sustainability of our ecosystems and our local fishing fleets.
“Commercial alewife harvester Jeffrey Pierce and fisheries ecologist Jake Kritzer will narrate the event, highlighting the importance of intact watersheds in maintaining one of the region’s oldest food sources.”
Jeffrey Pierce is a commercial alewife harvester and executive director of the Alewife Harvesters of Maine. Alewives, which spend most of their lives at sea but return to rivers to spawn, have become absent from much of their southern range but are still present in the Gulf of Maine — despite the effects of dams, which prevent their return upstream. The Alewife Harvesters of Maine is a group of alewife harvesters and their allies who work to conserve alewives and preserve the river-fishing heritage of Maine.
Jake Kritzer is the Director of Spatial and Ecosystems Initiatives at the Oceans Program of the Environmental Defense Fund, where he works on preserving natural resources with tremendous ecological and heritage value to coastal communities. Current projects include working with local communities to restore small-scale fisheries for Nantucket bay scallops and Gulf of Maine alewives. Kritzer is on the Board of Directors of the Alewife Harvesters of Maine.
The Gulf of Maine is a unique ecosystem that has put a wide variety of seafood on dinner plates for centuries. But climate change, riverine habitat alteration, and fishing patterns have contributed to fluctuations in this ecosystem. The dinner at Lumiere will explore the big picture of what it means to keep this ecosystem sustainable.
The Eating with the Ecosystem dinner series is organized by fisherwoman and environmental activist Sarah Schumann, who started it as a way to help people experience the connections between a healthy marine environment and a healthy local fishing industry.
“Consumers have become sensitized to the effects of their seafood choices on marine ecosystems, but they are less alert to the effects of other factors — like climate change, ocean acidification, and riverine habitat loss — on fisheries,” said Schumann. “The Gulf of Maine dinner at Lumiere is a great opportunity to learn from the experts about the importance of taking care of the whole ecosystem, so that it continues to provide the seafood we have enjoyed for generations.”
Lumiere is located at 1293 Washington Street in Newton. Tickets are $60 and reservations are available by calling the restaurant at 617.244.9199. A third Eating with the Ecosystem dinner will take place on November 4 at Tremont 647 in Boston.
About Eating with the Ecosystem
Eating with the Ecosystem is an educational effort to design and promote a place-based approach to sustainable seafood for New England. By fusing the ecological knowledge of marine scientists and commercial fishermen with the culinary creativity of the region’s most innovative chefs, the project advances a dining paradigm that channels a deep understanding of the special places in the ocean that produce the seafood we enjoy. Eating with the Ecosystem’s traveling dinner series partners with restaurants in Rhode Island and the Boston area to celebrate and steward the region’s unique marine ecosystems, one at a time: Southern New England waters, Georges Bank, and the Gulf of Maine. For more information on Eating with the Ecosystem click here.
Photo Credit: NOAA/Eating with the Ecosystem