Go Fish-ing at Boston Local Food Festival
Food trucks are hot right now, and there are many great reasons why they are going from “trendy” to “here to stay.” Looking at the Boston area trucks, a few reasons jump to mind. Talented teams of marketers, expeditors, and chefs, excellent variety, and a city that loves good food are among these reasons.
Many of these trucks are committed to local, fresh ingredients, which translates to exciting menus that change on a whim, and reflect the seasons of New England. But one can’t think about food and Boston without immediately thinking “seafood.” Fortunately for food truck enthusiasts in the Boston area, there is a truck you can count on for fresh seafood made to order by a staff that takes offering the best dishes around very seriously; GO FISH.
I touched base with GO FISH owner, David Stein, to ask him a few questions about what makes his truck one not to miss.
People rave about the freshness of your fish. How do you go about sourcing?
I have built a great relationship with Fisherman’s Fleet, a local wholesale distributor, over 20 years of purchasing for the many kitchens I have helmed. I have found Fleet to be consistently terrific in terms of freshness, overall quality, service and price. They are working closely with me to source the freshest fish, and in ways which make it possible for me to offer terrific, fresh fish at food truck prices. For instance, if they are cutting a given fish into perfect portions for a restaurant, there are pieces left over which are the result of trimming. So I will receive the same $9.50lb fish from which they cut the perfect portion, for a special (for instance a fish taco) at a tremendous price. This kind of close relationship, built on trust and years of mutually rewarding business, is priceless to a chef. I wear many hats, Chef, Business Owner, Operations Manager. . . To have a strong relationship with a prime purveyor who does much of the sourcing for me is a huge advantage.
Does having a seafood-centered food truck pose any unique challenges?
Yes, in two ways:
A. Seafood has a shorter shelf life than many other foods, and needs to be handled and stored carefully, at controlled temperatures, in a clean sanitized environment. This requires training the staff thoroughly, thoughtful menu planing, and high standards. We turn over all our fish within two days. I prefer to run out of a given menu item than sell one past its prime. The cod or haddock we use for fish and chips/fried fish sandwich is smoked for cod/chorizo cakes if it isn’t sold within this time frame. Fortunately we do enough volume, and I have years and years of experience purchasing and menu planning, that we are able to stay within these parameters.
B. Properly cooking seafood takes skilled cooks! We are preparing seafood, which overcooks easily and requires knowledge of all basic cooking methods (grilling, frying, saute, braising. . .). I’m a hands on chef/owner and hire experienced cooks with whom I work closely.
What would you tell the average consumer about the quality of local fish vs. fish that has traveled?
In this day and age it is possible to source food from around the globe that will arrive fresh. It costs to do so, and leaves a great carbon footprint. Fish caught locally, and brought quickly to market is likely to be fresher and more affordable than imported fish. It also reflects the local ecosystem. However, if the purveyor isn’t careful about selecting the best fish at the local market, or handling and storing it properly, the fact that it is local is no guarantee of quality. It is the job of the chef to put the best possible product on the plate. I source about 70% of my fish, and the same with produce (during the season) locally. I do not buy exclusively locally. Many factors figure into these decisions.
What’s on the menu for the Boston Local Food Festival?
All sourced locally:
*Smoked Cod/Chorizo Sliders with Verrill Farms Onion Compote and Chipotle Aioli.
*Brother Truckers Famous Clam Chowdah
*Saffron/Mussel Bisque with Mussel Fritters
*Verrill Farms Fall Harvest Salad (to be determined)
I think it is clear from the approach to the menu that GO FISH is in the right place in securing a spot at the Boston Local Food Festival. Be sure to stop by for a bite…but, you’ll need to get behind me in line!
This post was written by featured festival blogger Jon Ross-Wiley of Local In Season.