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!)