Restau-Rants is Eater's safe space that allows the owners, operators, chefs and bartenders in the restaurant industry let rip about a topic that drives them nuts. Today, industry veteran and co-owner of one of Chinatown's hottest new openings, Mamie Taylor's, Simon Kaulback vents.
[Photo via Mamie Taylor's]
Oceanwise is a term that people get a hard-on for, but what does it mean? Our halibut, our ling cod, they are all line-caught and locally caught between here and the Queen Charlottes. I don't know the name of the fisherman and I don't care. People go crazy: 'What was the name of the man who picked this broccoli? Was he left or right handed?' It reeks to me of Portlandia.
"I would love to be able to know the name of every single one of our farmers but it's not logical to my mind. However, to the best of my knowledge, everything that we're serving here is organic, sustainable and free range - we're not bringing in Chilean sea bass and we're not serving whale. If the suppliers can't tell us where we got it from we don't buy it.
One of the cool things about opening up in Chinatown was that we wanted to be able to purchase fruit and vegetables and proteins from our neighbours, the businesses from round here. Tobias, our chef, was initially hesitant but having visited them, he says what they are supplying is as good if not better than the big suppliers.
We've recently sold our 500th chicken dish and we bought it all from next door. All our seafood comes from across the street. The Asian population are very conscious of freshness and quality, but they don't give a shit if it's Two Rivers or a name farm, they just want to know what they're getting is quality and local. Do they care about the term 'free range?' No, they just want to know that chicken wasn't in a cage - it's not about catchphrases like '100 mile diet' or 'local and organic'. These products, most of them were grown in farms right next door to your big name farms - same soil, same practices."