Worried about salmon? What chef Tom Douglas says you should consider
It’s safe to say Seattle chef Tom Douglas won’t be removing salmon from menus at his restaurants, but he’s passionate about the plight of the species.
Fellow Seattle chef Renee Erickson, whose restaurants include The Walrus and the Carpenter and the Whale Wins, is removing Chinook salmon (a.k.a. king salmon) from her menus. Seeing a mother orca grieving the loss of her calf, and another orca struggling to survive prompted Erickson’s decision.
Douglas’ restaurants will source salmon from Alaska and make sure they’re not buying local king salmon.
“We’re going to focus on Alaska’s sustainable runs and limit ourselves to no Sound area kings,” Douglas said.
Douglas focuses on another issue when it comes to salmon — the Pebble mine in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska. The region has deposits of gold, copper, and molybdenum which are highly sought after. But opponents say mining the ore deposit there would negatively impact the entire watershed that salmon rely upon.
“I know that the Puget Sound Chinook and orca situation is front and center, but this is a massive situation throughout the salmon world,” Douglas said. “I’m afraid some of these distractions are going to take away from the bigger issue.”
As for Erickson and her decision to remove Chinook salmon from her menus, Douglas supports the move.
“I love Renee,” he said. “I think she’s awesome. She’s a leader in the restaurant world. She needs to do for restaurants what she feels is best. She’s always been at the forefront of ecological issues.”