Eleven top US chefs visited salmon farms and processing operations in Chile from Nov. 16-20 as part of educational trip organized by the Chilean Salmon Marketing Council (CSMC).
The culinary tour linked the chefs with representatives at Blumar, Cermaq, Australis/Trapanada,Ventisqueros, Multiexport and SalmonChile in the major salmon regions of Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, Ensenada and Chiloé.
Salmon farmer Ventisqueros, for example, hosted the culinary delegation at its Chincui processing plant in Puerto Montt, where chefs learned about the entire farming process.
“This visit is tremendously important for the industry, because it allows us to show our history to the final users of our product,” said Fernando Perez, commercial manager of Ventisqueros. “This should be the new approach, to bring our clients closer to the origin of the raw material.”
During the trip, the program included in-depth hands-on experience at facilities representing the entire salmon lifecycle, from hatchery to the processing plant.
“Though we all recognize the areas where Chile must continue to improve, the thing that stands out the most are the people," said Chef Derek Wagner, owner of Nicks on Broadway Restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island. "We never hear about the people behind the salmon industry - the leaders, the local workers and the local communities that support the industry. They are absolutely amazing. This is what impressed me most.”
It's not just chefs who are unaware of the story of Chile's salmon sector, said Jim Griffin, CEO of the salmon marketing group.
"I think Chilean salmon is a first choice for consumers in the USA in terms of sales and demand; the main problem is that Chile hasn’t told it’s story," he said.
"People, including chefs, in the US don’t know about Chilean salmon or that most of the fresh salmon they buy is from Chile. The marketing council is excited to finally begin sharing the Chilean story with such a prominent group of culinary professionals."