What started as a press release landing innocently in the Inbox a few days ago has erupted into a little storm, complete with an AP story featuring Seattle restaurants and local food blogger Ronald Holden being picked up by The New York Times. So, what the hell happened?
The backstory: this week, up until November 21, thirteen Seattle restaurants (Art of the Table, Chiso, Emmer & Rye, Etta's Seafood, Flying Fish, Palace Kitchen, Persimmon, Ponti Seafood Grill, Rover's, Steelhead Diner, Tilth, Tilikum Place Café, and The Pike Brewing Company) are featuring Bristol Bay wild salmon on their menus to support Trout Unlimited's Savor Bristol Bay campaign. Trout Unlimited, an organization dedicated to conserving coldwater fisheries, is raising awareness about a threat posed to Bristol Bay salmon and fisherman by a proposed open-pit gold and copper mine called Pebble.
It was all simple enough until one of the Pebble mine's supporters, Gail Phillips, sent an email out to people (including, oops, Steelhead Diner's chef Kevin Davis and Emmer & Rye's chef Seth Caswell) asking them to boycott the participating restaurants. This prompted Holden, aka the Cornichon, to ask the rhetorical question now heard round the fish news-related corners of the internet: "Seriously, Ms. Phillips, are you nuts?"
Chatter aside, this important fact remains: you have until this Saturday to support and savor wild Alaskan salmon and the fishermen whose livelihood depends on them. (After the 21st, you can ask for Bristol Bay salmon at your local fish market, or order directly from this list of family-run businesses.)