Sustainable Shopping: Fish Tips for the Home Cook

Chefs David LeFevre (of the forthcoming Fishing with Dynamite) and Takao Iinuma of Genji Sushi on buying fish retail

Though we live by the sea, L.A.’s residents rarely eat fish from our own Pacific waters. Sustainable fish is often hard to come by, even for seasoned chefs with their pick of provider. In honor of Sushi Week and Earth Day 2013, we talked to two chefs who know fish. Chef David LeFevre is the owner and chef of M.B. Post in Manhattan Beach. Fishing with Dynamite, a new seafood-focused spot from LeFevre, opens this month. Chef Takao Iinuma of Genji Sushi comes from Morimoto’s sushi bar, and once competed with Morimoto in Iron Chef Japan (and won). Now, Iinuma’s team is responsible for preparing fresh sushi daily at 165 Whole Foods stores across the country.

An important note: These tips are for the home cook, not the avid diner. Whether you’re thinking of busting out that sushi making kit you got for Christmas two years ago, or are making stock for a rich bouillabaisse, Chefs David LeFevre and Takao Iinuma remind us that shopping for sustainable seafood involves a few extra steps. 

Chef David LeFevre
“Buy from sources you trust. Santa Monica Seafood and Manhattan Grocery (just down the street from M.B. Post) have excellent relationships with fishermen that they pass along to their clients.” 

“Use a guide. I like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch pocket book.”

“Try new kinds of fish, though even this is becoming too common. What I like to do at home is shop for cuts other than the filet. Some of my favorite things to prepare are fins and cheeks! Try Halibut or Turbot fins or Cod cheeks for their texture. They make great tacos.”

Chef Takao Iinuma
“I like the 4 ‘S’ guide from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You want to look for seasonal, small, shellfish and silver. The Marine Stewardship Council also has some good tips.”

“Shellfish, like oysters, mollusks and clams self-filter water, so they’re great for the ocean and even farmed varieties are a good choice.”

“Consider small fish, cooked whole, for meals at home. There are more small fish in the seas, so we can create a demand for them that will allow other stocks to replenish.”


Hidden LA