Chef Allen Susser on What It Means to Create Sustainable Cuisine
The Innovator of New World Cuisine on the
Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan
The James Beard Foundation recognized Allen Susser as Best Chef in America, 1994. The acclaimed chef sits down with Mitchell to talk about helping the ecosystem with recipes from his new cookbook, Green Fig and Lionfish.
From the episode:
Allen Susser: Lionfish is delicious, but it’s also an invasive species, which means that it’s a danger to our environment here in Florida and throughout the Caribbean. One of the things that I have been a big proponent of and work with is getting people to understand what sustainable food is. To understand that we want fresh fish and fish available for eating for our generation, our kids, and their grandkids and their grandkids.
If we don’t pay attention to how we fish and what we do to our waters, and sustain the quality of the environment, we are going to be in trouble with our food supply, fish specifically. Not that we want to take fish as something nice to have; one-third of the world needs this volume of fish to survive. The need for a good, fresh protein is so important.
The lionfish is one example of how sustainable seafood is being threatened by the reefs they eat off of. … They eat all the fish along the reefs, and they multiply.
Mitchell Kaplan: How did it become so invasive?
Allen Susser: Lionfish live in the Indian Ocean and has its own enemies there. It got transported to Miami by someone’s fish tank, and it got dumped into the ocean. From that ocean exposure, it started to grow.
Chef Allen Susser is a James Beard Award winning Chef. He has a passionate commitment to local fresh ingredients. The New York Times called Allen the “Ponce De Leon of New Florida cooking.” His landmark restaurant changed the way people ate in Miami forever, and effected how we all eat today. Food & Wine magazine named Chef Allen “One of the Best 10 Chefs in America.” Chef Allen’s Consulting is a boutique sustainable restaurant and hospitality consulting firm—providing strategic initiative, culinary resources, and innovative direction for the industry. One of his current projects is pioneering chocolate in St Lucia, West Indies. His Emerald Estate Vintage Chocolate is a bean to bar authentically hand-crafted Chocolate. Susser is currently a spokesman for the National Mango Board and is a Culinary Ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium for its sustainable seafood watch. He received an honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University and received the President’s Award for community service from Florida International University. He is the original author of New World Cuisine and Cookery (Doubleday, 1995), The Great Citrus Book (Ten Speed Press, 1997) and The Great Mango Book (Ten Speed Press, 2001).