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Our Fishmongers Face Off

UPDATE: The 11 finalists competed in the first-ever national Fishmonger Face-Off at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen on June 16. Following an impressive round of battles, the golden trident trophy was presented to Bob “The Fish Guy” Reany from Denver.

After weeks of fierce regional competitions among top fishmongers at Whole Foods Market stores across the country, eleven finalists in our first-ever national Fishmonger Face-Off will go head-to-tail for the golden trident trophy. The final battle will take place at the Food & Wine Classic on June 16 in Aspen, Colorado, and will showcase the skilled specialists behind our seafood cases.


From navigating seafood sustainability in our stores to landing the perfect fish for your dish, our talented fishmongers are your capable captains (and our heroes). This competition celebrates these expert fishmongers who work daily to help educate our shoppers about responsibly-caught seafood choices and help take the guess work out of selecting and cooking fish by offering recipe suggestions, sustainable substitutions and cut-to-order seafood.

Fishmongers will face-off in two phases. They will first try to out-fillet each another with Marine Stewardship Council-certified Copper River salmon in a timed challenge. Five winners will be chosen on the highest yield and craftsmanship.

The second round will test their knowledge in a game of seafood trivia. The winning fishmonger will then be named, winning the coveted golden trident trophy. Catch the excitement by checking out this video:The contest will be emceed by Chef John Besh, restaurateur, cookbook author and host of the national PBS cooking show “Chef John Besh’s New Orleans.”

Judges include Chef Paul Qui, recent James Beard and Top Chef: Texas winner; David Pilat, global seafood buyer for Whole Foods Market; and Kerry Coughlin, Americas regional director of the Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading international, multi-stakeholder, wild-caught fishery certification program.

We’re hooked on selling wild-caught fish that has been responsibly caught, and we see this competition as a great way to spotlight seafood sustainability. A number of years ago we stopped selling several extremely depleted stocks, such as orange roughy and bluefin tuna. Then this past April we made huge waves by becoming the first retailer to no longer carry red-rated wild-caught seafood.

This means you can shop with ease knowing all of the wild-caught seafood we carry are from fisheries certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), or green (best choice) or yellow (good alternative) species rated by Blue Ocean Institute (BOI) or Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA). We’re also concerned with environmentally friendly farm-raised seafood and have strict Quality Standards for Aquaculture in place to track our farmed options.

We’re fortunate to have experts behind the seafood counter who guide our shoppers to the best choices for their tastes and budgets and for the sea.

No matter how the tides turn at the final competition in Aspen, we honor all of these Whole Foods Market fishmongers:

Michael “Numba One Cutta” Schmitz of Encinitas, California


Bob “The Fish Guy” Reany of Highlands Ranch, Colorado


Abbatt “El Tigre” Story of Atlanta, Georgia


Andres “Mussels” Barroso of Swampscott, Massachusetts


Zach “Public Anemone” Langford of Austin, Texas


Jordan “Stone Crab” Silva of Naples, Florida


Ken “The Rock” Riccardi of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



Alejandro “Codfather” Macias of Los Gatos, California


Andrew “Wu-Tang Clam” Ogden of Red Bank, N.J.


Heriberto “Senor Pescado” Medinaof Deerfield, Illinois


Cavan “The Dog Whisperer” Huaof Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada



Is your local fishmonger headed to the finals? Send him best wishes in the comments section below. (Not that they’re fishing around for compliments, of course!)

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Bianca says …

Better watch out - word on the street is Jordan "Stone Crab" is the best of the best!!!

Jamie says …

Andrew in Red Bank, NJ is the best!!! Representing the NE Region and MID!! Go "Clam"!

Claire Furman says …

MIKE SCHMITZ ALL THE WAY!!! From Claire F....we still miss you in the Kentlands.

Jess Barninger says …

GO KENNY GO! From Sophie, Denise, and Jess of Plymouth Meeting!

Joe LAsprogata says …

Yo Kenny, School'em and show them why you're the best. Good Luck, Joe

Karen @ Pledging for Change says …

there is definitely something very fishy going on here. but hey this is fantastic. I really do wish you all the very best and you are going to have a great time. Look forward to seeing who takes the trophy. ;-) Oooooh I'm in Uk and cannot be there but I'll keep doing my bit spreading the word and always giving you guys a thumbs up :-)



Kathy says …

Bring the crown home to the NE Region Andrew! Do the Jersey shore proud. Good Luck Kathy----- TM Edgewater WFM

tony smith says …

There are a couple of guys at Tenleytown, DC who are AMAZING.

Alan lazar says …

Hello, very exciting, may your cuts be straight, love to know who wins and what happen to last years meatotpia???

Sylvia Dresser says …

Glad to see someone from our Deerfield store in the line up! You guys always give me the best advice on fish and fish cookery. Good luck!

Elaine and Alasdair says …

But...but...where's Bob from the Hinsdale, IL store? He's totally the best fishmonger EVER! Even though he cut off his sexy dreads.... :)

Virginia says …

Hey Heriberto, Way to go! Represent DRF!!!! Virginia Cofer Seasonal PT Team Member

norma.quon says …

Go Alejandro! Show 'me your NorCal spirit!

Sam says …

While cute, it's a little off-putting for Whole Foods to be smug/in-your-face about animal death. The 'sport' aspect is gross, given your demographic.

Joe+ Cathy Fabrizio says …

Ken, The Rock..All your fans here in PA are rooting for you. Don't let the altitude dull your keen senses. Your customers Love you and wish you good fortune. Win one for the flipper.

Mike Greenfield says …

I want to bring Jason Perez of the Cary NC store to your attention. I thought that I was knowledgeable about seafood , health and sustainability , yet I learn something every time I speak with Jason. Jason has an encyclopedic knowledge of seafood and is always willing to answer questions .... even when he is on break. Jason has gone above and beyond in preparing special orders , and done so with a smile , as when he filed and de boned sardines. I can purchase seafood t a better price at many Whole Foods competitors , but I cannot get Jason's knowledge and enthusiasm anywhere else but Whole Foods , so I keep returning.

Kathleen says …

Good luck Bob "The Fish Guy" we have missed you since we left HIghlands Ranch!