Where Chefs Find Inspiration

Wild-caught Alaska seafood inspires an extraordinary class of chefs.

Chefs looking to improve their offerings find inspiration from remarkable places. For these four world-class chefs, inspiration comes from the pristine waters of Alaska. In an ongoing video series, these innovators share their insights, tips and stories in four short, yet riveting videos. From family traditions to creative techniques, you’ll hear how the exceptional flavor, texture and versatility of wild-caught Alaska seafood, frozen at its peak of freshness, along with the sustainable fishing practices employed by Alaskan fishermen, have provoked noteworthy creativity.

Ann Kim, Pizzeria Lola, Young Joni and Sooki & Mimi

Spicy Korean Fish Stew (Maeuntang)

Delicate Alaska sole becomes the perfect companion to bold Korean flavors.

Minneapolis-based Ann Kim, chef/owner of Pizzeria Lola, Young Joni and Sooki & Mimi, grew up on the southern tip of Korea where seafood was prevalent. At family meals featuring whole fish, they’d fight over the eyeballs, considered a prized delicacy. Always seeking out the best ingredients, Kim appreciates the sustainability and integrity of wild-caught, frozen-fresh Alaska seafood, allowing her to present seafood in ways unfamiliar to most Americans. When it comes to wild-caught Alaska sole, she says “This fish is healthy and lean and has a great mild flavor that pairs well with simple ingredients. It holds up nicely in hearty dishes like my go-to Korean stew.”

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Domenica Catelli, Catelli’s

Alaska Seafood Cioppino

Marrying a bounty of fresh herbs and spices with a cornucopia of Alaska seafood.

Domenica Catelli, Executive Chef at Catelli’s in Geyserville, California has a thing for wild seafood from Alaska. In her Cioppino, she says “These seafoods are so clean and beautiful. They have a sweetness and texture that makes this dish wonderful.” Frequently appearing at pop-up events, she likes to make fish cakes, salads featuring cured fish and rich seafood stocks that riff on Asian-influenced dishes such as pho and ramen, using any number of globally sourced spices to give her dishes added flavor and distinction.

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George Mendes, Veranda

Alaska Halibut with Fricassee of Spring Vegetables

Chef’s artistry and technique shine a light on the pristine freshness of Alaska halibut.

Born to Portuguese immigrants, George Mendes, chef and partner at Veranda, New York, grew up in a household where seafood was served three to four times a week, quickly becoming part of his culinary DNA. In 2009, he introduced Portuguese cuisine to diners in New York, earning a Michelin star and setting the stage for critical acclaim. For this dish Mendes says, “Wild-caught Alaska halibut is the star. It's a pristine product. There’s no need to mask its natural flavor. I like that it stands on its own. Even with other cuisines, as long as you don't overwhelm the fish, there are possibilities.”

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Akshay Bhardwaj, Junoon

Tandoori Salmon

Alaska sockeye salmon and age-old cooking technique form the perfect union.

Akshay Bhardwaj, Executive Chef at Junoon, New York was the first Indian chef to be selected for the Forbes “30 under 30: Food and Drink” list, creating experiences that rely on his South Indian heritage. When asked about his influences, Bhardwaj explains “Most Indian food is north Indian, a land-locked point of origin with little access to seafood. While Junoon is south Indian, a cuisine that emphasizes vegetarian dishes, there’s lots of room for seafood.” Mastery of the tandoor oven is also important, he continues “While tandoor ovens are affordable, the technique is hard to grasp. It’s like the way sushi is mastered. It takes time.”

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Watch these chefs in action.

To see how each of these incredible dishes is prepared, and to learn more about the versatility of the world’s best wild-caught seafood, watch all of these chef videos at PlateOnline.com. For more inspiring recipes go to Alaskaseafood.org.