“The oceans are the planet’s last great living wilderness, man’s only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.” ~ John L. Culliney
Finding the very best ingredients has always been one of the El Gaucho hallmarks and one of the ways we ensure that is to build relationships with our key suppliers. Part of a quality sourcing program means knowing as much as we can about the ingredients we serve our guests. One local seafood partner, Eydfinn Tausen of Olympic Seafoods, has taken product transparency to the next level. He has created a fish tagging system with information so detailed you know where the fish came from, the boat that caught it and even the name of the fisherman.
Eydfinn has been a leader in the fishing industry since the early ‘80s, working with Select Fish and later Whole Foods. He always felt there were many under-utilized opportunities in the industry, particularly in Neah Bay. “There’s so much fresh fish!” he kept telling himself, knowing that most of the fish consumed in Seattle is from Alaska and British Columbia. While Neah Bay is a shorter distance at 150 miles, logistics still present a challenge: a windy road and mountain range separates the two and deliveries were not dependable. And with fishing, timing is everything.
Fishing is also a complicated and delicate system, managed by governing bodies from the international level down to local tribunal communities. The quotas and fishing seasons are an intricate balance that’s different every year.
A few years ago, Eydfinn decided to take matters into his own hands, bought a refrigerated truck, and started introducing himself to fisherman in Neah Bay. The people he met had great fishing expertise but no experience marketing and distributing their product. Eydfinn knew how to do both.
“Most people don’t have any idea where their fish come from,” he explains. “I want to help tell that story. I’m the facilitator. I want the customer to see where their food is coming from.”
To help tell that story, Eydfinn has created tags for each fish containing a QR code that displays the species, name of the boat, and a bio on the fisherman. Each fish is immediately tagged when it’s caught. The QR code can be read through a smart phone. I tell the fisherman, “If you are proud of your fish – tell your story,” Eydfinn explains. These stories are told through each fish tag sold through Olympic Seafoods.
Eydfinn’s model is working. He currently works with about 30 boats, all part of the same co-op, and the fish are delivered to his accounts within 24-36 hours. He’s proud to help reduce the carbon footprint to provide fresh fish to consumers.
“We love that we are so close to the source,” says El Gaucho Seattle Executive Chef Matt Brandsey. “By the time we get it, it has only been out if the water for less than 24 hours. Eydfinn works directly with specific fishing families to ensure consistency every time.”
Our mission is simply to find the best for our patrons and guests to enjoy. No excuses and no compromise. Our family of restaurants constantly works to bring you the best the world has to offer, and thanks to Eydfinn and his team, some of that is from the local waters of Neah Bay.
For the month of November, we are featuring Olympic Seafoods by offering Miso Marinated Black Cod on our fresh sheets at all El Gaucho locations. Make reservations to join us today!