KODIAK — Kodiak is showing some of France’s most renowned chefs how we harvest seafood around the island — and how we love to cook it.

Along for the experience are journalists writing for French food publications who will take home stories of their time in Alaska.

The trip is organized as part of the international outreach of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a $7.5 million per year endeavor to increase the value of Alaska seafood products abroad.

On Tuesday in Kodiak, the French party boarded the fishing vessel Arctic Hunter to learn more about the scallop industry. They then were treated to a reception that featured cuisine by chef Joel Chenet and allowed the group to meet local fishing interests and community leaders.

The French party hadn’t had time to settle in at the local hotel and change into formal wear, a sign of the whirlwind trip they have taken this week to several locations in Alaska.

It included a stop in Sitka, where they toured fishing boats, became familiar with various fisheries and saw multiple processing plants, ASMI international program director Joe Jacobson said.

The party was able to catch fish on a charter and barbecue king salmon and lingcod that evening.

“They met with (ADF&G Commissioner) Cora Campbell yesterday and learned about sustainability,” Jacobson said. “Tomorrow we take them out to Larsen Bay and then they’ll go to a local harvester.”

The group will then tour some of the fish processors in Kodiak before returning to France.

Among the honored guests were Guillaume Gomez, a chef at the Élysée Palace (the residence of the president of France).

Gomez said the trip has helped him discover new products. He added that the popularity of both black cod and king crab in France has taken off in just the past few years.

Five years ago, nobody cooked king crab, and three or four years ago, nobody was cooking black cod, Gomez said.

Now the question is “where is the king crab?” Gomez said, because supply cannot meet the demand.

Serge Hennebert, a food journalist for Vie Pratique Gourmand, said he would write an article that would weave together the place, the people and the food and describe Alaska to his readers so they would want to travel here themselves.

Jean-Charles Schamberger, editor in chief of the publication Resto Gratuit Pros, a 100,000 circulation monthly magazine dedicated to out-of-home catering professionals, said the focus of his writing would be Alaska’s sustainable fisheries.

Contact mirror writer Wes Hanna at whanna@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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