published Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Sustainable seafood for sustenance

IF YOU GO

What: Bluewater Grille.

Where: 224 Broad St.

When: Tuesday, July 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Admission: $45 member, $55 nonmember, limited to 35.

Website: www.tnaqua.org.

Since the Tennessee Aquarium's Serve and Protect program was launched last summer, spokesman Thom Benson said that steady progress has been made in educating the community about sustainable seafood.

"It's really been fantastic," Benson said. "We've really been able to expand the reach."

On Tuesday, July 17, Bluewater Grille will host a dinner highlighting U.S.-caught and raised seafood. A similar dinner will take place Aug. 23 at Hennen's.

"These dinners are designed to expose people to things that they might have never tried before and the people have been overwhelmingly surprised and delighted by what they've had," said Benson. "In a number of ways, this is a neat thing for Chattanooga because it's given people a chance to learn about sustainable seafood, try something different, which is part of our message, and also celebrate the Chattanooga restaurant scene."

The Aquarium has been working with Food Network chef Alton Brown, who made an appearance in August 2011. At the time, he said Americans were guilty of "species targeting" -- not eating a diverse enough range of seafood. During the first year, the Serve and Protect program focused on five species: rainbow trout, farm-raised catfish, oysters, yellowtail snapper and American lobster.

Brown recorded cell phone audio stops to help visitors to the aquarium learn more about sustainable seafood.

"Rainbow trout, farm raised locally, just a county away is one of the most versatile fish you can cook in a pan or in a smoker," he says on one recording.

Brown also helped to develop recipes that are featured on the Aquarium's website. Benson said he's enjoyed the trout burgers and that even his wife, who is generally averse to seafood, has found recipes she's enjoyed.

The hope, he said, is that after visiting the Aquarium and learning about the different species, people would go to local restaurants and ask questions before trying something new, then would try to cook dishes with U.S. raised sustainable seafood at home.

"You can become that culinary hero in your own kitchen," Benson said, "with a little bit of help from Alton Brown."

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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