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Wednesday, 28 October 2015 19:37

The Guide to Seafood Sustainability

Sustainable SeafoodSustainability is one of the more commonly raised topics in discussions about fisheries. The big question in the minds of many consumers is this: what exactly is sustainability and how does it relate to seafood? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), seafood sustainability can be defined as ensuring that the population of a species of fish is sufficient to meet the needs of today's consumers. It should be able to meet those present needs without affecting the ability of that species to reproduce and meet the needs of future generations.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that the vast majority of the world's fisheries are stressed by overfishing. This means that they are over exploited or they are being fished to the maximum allowed level. It can also mean that they have been depleted and are in the process of recovering.

How to Know if the Seafood on Your Menu Came From Sustainable Sources

If it is Harvested in the US
The US government manages fisheries to determine when and where fishermen can catch fish. Fish scientists assess stocks around the country to estimate how many fish are in the water. Imported seafood may also be sustainable, but can come from a wide range of sources. Those sources may not be held to the same high standards as seafood from the US.

By Purchasing From a Reputable Restaurant
Many chefs have purchasing policies for seafood that prioritize sustainability. Indigenous is committed to only serving sustainable fish and Chef Phelps is passionate about this endeavor.

Ask Questions About Seafood Sustainability
Learn where the seafood you are buying is from and how to identify quality sustainable seafood.

Learn How it is Caught
The methods of catching seafood differ in their level of sustainability. For example, the hook and line method has little impact to the sea floor and allows fishermen to return unwanted species. In most cases, the unwanted species will be returned quickly enough for them to survive.

Steve PhelpsChef Phelps was recently interviewed by Ticket Sarasota about seafood sustainability, being a semifinalist 2 years in a row for the James Beard Best Chef: South Award, and his recent trip to Iowa to cook at the 17th Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner.

Check out the video here and get to know more about Chef Phelps!

Seafood SustainabilityLearning about seafood sustainability begins with studying the controlled environments of fish farming or aquaculture and the wild environments of commercial fishing. Here are some interesting facts about seafood sustainability based on information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

1. National Standards of Sustainability
Fisheries in the United States are monitored and managed on regional levels, adhering to the 10 National Standards of sustainability. These guidelines are legally enforced and must be followed by all fisheries in the United States to ensure conservation and safety measures are taken. As a result of these standards, catch rates have dropped while fish populations are being rebuilt and U.S. fisheries are evolving to be more sustainable.

2. A Third of the World's Fisheries are in Trouble
Based on reports by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 28 percent of the world's fisheries have been "over-exploited" with 3 percent depletion and 1 percent recovering. These numbers add up to 32 percent of the world's fisheries being a serious concern with regards to seafood sustainability.

3. Where Does Most Seafood Originate for American Consumers?
Ninety percent of the seafood that is consumed in the United States is imported. A significant amount, however, is caught by American fishermen before it is exported for processing then reimported. Roughly half of imported seafood is farm-raised, which is also true on a global level. About five percent of American seafood is produced from aquaculture environments.

4. Sustainability of American Seafood
The United States is considered the world leader in managing fisheries that produce sustainable seafood. The government regulates when, where, how and how much fishing is done in America. When a stock is overfished, regulators call for a rebuilding plan until scientists determine that a maximum sustainable yield has been achieved.

5. Impact of Seafood on U.S. Economy
According to NAOO, the U.S. seafood industry generated $199 billion in commercial and recreational sales in 2012. Florida, the top fishing state in America, generated $29.7 billion, ahead of California with $25.7 billion. The industry supports over 1 million commercial fishing jobs across the nation.

Indigenous is committed to serving carefully sourced local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients to give guests a unique and conscious dining experience. Stop in today and discover how local, sustainable ingredients are also delicious!

Chef Steve Phelps 1 683x1024Niman Ranch will celebrate its more than 550 U.S. family hog farmers September 26, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa, at its 17th Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner. Five renowned chefs will share their passion for humanely and sustainably raised pork at this event by honoring the farmers who raise the animals at the annual celebration.


“Each of these chefs has shown a commitment to using humanely and sustainably raised pork in their restaurants,” said Paul Willis, Niman Ranch Pork Company founder and manager. “Our farmers take pride in raising hogs traditionally but often do not get to see how chefs use the pork on their menus, so we bring the restaurants to them.”


Chef Steve Phelps, owner and executive chef at Indigenous, has been given the honor of being named one of the 5 2015 Featured Chefs of Niman Ranch and will be collaborating with the four other chefs on a multi-course dinner highlighting Niman Ranch pork while showcasing their culinary perspective in each dish. You can read his feature here.


To read more about the other 4 chefs invited to the Farmer Appreciation Dinner that Chef Phelps will be collaborating with, click here!


Because Chef Phelps will be out of town for this event, Indigenous will be closed September 24th-26th, 2015.

Thursday, 10 September 2015 18:28

What is Seafood Sustainability?

Sustainable SeafoodDespite the fact that oceans cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface, the marine life within them is not infinite. Humanity's ever-increasing desire for seafood has had catastrophic results. The health of the planet's oceans is directly connected to humanity's health and welfare. It also directly affects access to food for people from all economic levels. It influences economic development and impacts our ability to get nutritious and delicious meals.

At one point in history, it appeared that there were no limits on what the oceans could provide; however, discoveries in recent decades have shown us differently. Many of the world's fisheries are overexploited and are on the brink of collapse, while others have already collapsed. The ramifications of this go far beyond being able to get your favorite type of fish; overfished fisheries affect the health of the whole planet.

Simply put, seafood sustainability involves meeting the present need for seafood without compromising the ability to meet future needs. It is important to remember that when we eat seafood, we have an irreversible effect on the environment; therefore, it is important that we make the right decisions.

The Importance of Aquaculture for Seafood Sustainability
Fish farms play a major role in the solution to overfishing as they produce half of the world's seafood; however, not all fish farms are good for the environment. Truly sustainable fish farming operations will take steps to reduce their impact on the ecosystem. Unsustainable fish farms can cause environmental damage like pollution and disease or damage to coastal ecosystems.

How to Tell Which Seafood in the Supermarket is Sustainable
Pay attention to the labeling. Labeling has improved in recent years and helps shoppers to make smarter choices. Labels may show where the seafood is from and whether it was farm-raised or wild-caught. Some labels may even show how the seafood was harvested. In addition, your fish seller may have information on the origin of the fish as well as its quality and the methods used to harvest it.

Finding Sustainable Seafood in Restaurants
This starts with choosing the right chef. Many chefs and restaurants are committed to keeping endangered species off their menus. In many cases, they are also committed to serving locally available seafood. Additionally, there are local and national pocket guides as well as smartphone apps like Seafood Watch and Safe Seafood that provide information on seafood sustainability.

Indigenous is committed to serving carefully sourced local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients to give guests a unique and conscious dining experience. Stop in today and discover how local, sustainable ingredients are also delicious!

Monday, August 3, 2015

The second annual Trashfish Dinner was held at Louie's Modern in downtown Sarasota, Florida, on Sunday August 2, 2015. The event was again a huge success selling more than 100 tickets in a week raising money for Chef's Collaborative. The event helps educate diners and communities about using the lesser known species of fish and "bycatch" that are typically thrown back by fisherman. With the education being focused on how delicious some of these trashfish can be, we can change the way people purchase fish in the future. The knowledge will take pressure off the commonly known species such as grouper, tuna, salmon etc. and will also create new outlets for fisherman to sell, resulting in more jobs. 

Seven local chefs had the opportunity to work together creating dishes with species such as knobhead porgy, black drum, white grunts, jack crevalle, and mullet. Some of these fish were never heard of before, others were thought not to be edible. Bringing chefs together in the kitchen to collaborate and work side by side is one of the most inspiring details of this event. Some chefs had never met before the meetings and planning began. By the end of the night they were toasting each others efforts and sharing ideas. The chefs assited each other in prepping, plating, tasting, and techniques proving to be very well executed.

Tracy Freeman of Edible Sarasota and Nikki Curran organized the event from the other side of the kitchen, promotions, grab bags, t-shirts etc. with perfection. And the gracious staff and team at Louies's Modern could not have done a better job of decorating and catering to the guests. Its going to be tough to beat this one at the 3rd annual Trashfish Dinner next year.

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Indigenous is proud to invite you to our 2nd Annual Trash Fish Dinner. An evening of the best fish you never had to benefit Chef's Collaborative scholarship and educational programs. The event will take place on August 2, 2015 at Louies Modern here in Sarasota, Florida.  To purchase tickets: 


Thursday July 26, 2012 Indigenous held the first of many upcoming collaboration events, The Pig, The Egg, The Keg with Chef Eric Bein of Station 400.  What an amazing turnout and looking forward to many more. Our next event is in the works with Chef Derek Barnes of Derek's Culinary Casual in October.  A special Thank You to Stephen McFadden for this awesome video.

The Smoked Shrimp is a new small plate item on the Indigenous Summer Menu, served with a tomato horseradish flan, crispy fingerling potato chips, golden tomato puree, and chive oil.  The wild caught American Shrimp from Woods Fisheries in Port St. Joe, Florida, is smoked in house with hickory chips and coconut husks. The flan is garnished with caviar from Mote Marine's sustainable aquaculture program


A behind the scenes look as to what goes into creating this delicate and texturally balanced plate. 


It's been one amazing mango season this year, and after the tropical storm, they were everywhere.  We foraged up enough to keep our mango soup going for the next month at least! 

We created this chilled soup to make a great first course or even dessert. The cucumber lime sorbet sets off the layers of flavors and the Thai chili pepper to add some heat, but are easily pushed aside if you are not into it. With a coconut milk base, this soup is sure to satisfy all you palate needs.

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