Let’s make a meal: Competition, swordfish prep, and more highlight VIMS symposium

Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Apr 10, 2013 - 01:08 PM

Photo: Chef Sean Gonzalez, left, and Chef Jake Wechsler had little time to decide the dishes they could create from what they saw in the basket. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Chef Sean Gonzalez, left, and Chef Jake Wechsler had little time to decide the dishes they could create from what they saw in the basket. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Yes, it’s O.K. to eat swordfish again. Recovery of this species that was once thought to be lost "is one of the great success stories of modern fisheries management." That was the lesson from the spring Chefs’ Seafood Symposium recently held at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point.

A competition in which teams had to plan and prepare a menu with ingredients unknown beforehand brought more interest to the event.

The long-running series is co-sponsored by Virginia Sea Grant Marine Extension Program, VIMS Marine Advisory Services, and the ACF Virginia Chefs Association. It brings together a world of knowledge in seafood products, their uses and sustainability, and how they can be prepared in the best way possible.

Talks on such subjects as The Blue Crab Parasites and Disease and a Decade of Monitoring in Chesapeake Bay: Focus on Seafood preceded the cooking demonstration by Kyle Woodruff, CEC secretary, Virginia Chefs Association, and Chef de Cuisine of Waypoint Seafood Grill LLC. He prepared a dish of swordfish, the featured fish of the program, and the appropriate dishes to accompany this species.

Culinary students of Hermitage Technical Center, Henrico County Schools, prepared and served lunch. Dr. John Graves, Chancellor Professor of Marine Science Fisheries Science at VIMS, introduced the history of the North Atlantic fish. "Many U.S. consumers, including some high profile chefs, are simply not aware that the North Atlantic swordfish stock is now rebuilt."