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SideDish Supper Club: The Backfin Story

Lobster sex is a hot topic.

The idea behind the upcoming SideDish Supper Club began last May after a discussion on SideDish about Copper River salmon turned into a blind tasting of salmon event at TJs Seafood Market.  The evening provoked a spirited conversation that spilled over on SideDish for a couple of days. From that point forward, I asked every server and chef I encountered about seafood. What I found was this: Most professionals don’t know much about sustainable seafood. Or any kind of seafood. They just order and cook what is available.

Last summer, I decided to learn about seafood. I went to Boston with Jim “Sevy” Severson. Together we attended the Seafood School for Chefs program run by Steve Connolly Seafood, a huge wholesale seafood company. We spent two long days studying the intricacies of the business—we pulled up lobster traps, toured packing and processing plants, took marine biology and cooking classes, and followed a wolffish from the water off the coast of Gloucester to a plate back at Sevy’s Grill in Dallas. More importantly, we spent many hours discussing the complicated issues swirling around seafood today.

The May issue of D Magazine (on newsstands April 22) will feature a 15-page package on the seafood business in Dallas. We address issues such as how to buy seafood, what to ask a server or chef about the seafood you order, and how to tell fact from fiction when it comes to seafood myths.

Striped bass class.

One component of the feature is a story about our trip to the seafood school in Boston.  Sevy, wife Amy, their two kids, and I not only had a great time, we came back with useful knowledge. The experience not only deepened Sevy’s dedication to serving the freshest fish available, it inspired him, and me, to learn even more about how food gets safely to a plate.

The upcoming SideDish Supper Club at Sevy’s Grill is a perfect fit. The evening will be a mini-version of our time in Boston. We have invited two of our “professors” from Steve Connolly Seafood in Boston, Willy Warner and Robert Chandler, to speak. The menu will feature three blind-tasting entrees that will enable all of us to sample two types of seafood side-by-side and compare taste and texture and how they relate to price.

Ketel One is stirring up a signature cocktail for the night. John Rector from Sigel’s has paired the courses with some spectacular wine, including the first release of the Affinity 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Craig Vineyards in Napa Valley. Goody bags are filling fast.

Sevy and Willy “Fish” Warner–a little dab will do ya!

The evening will be fun and fascinating. The all-inclusive price of $95 is a bargain. I promise you will leave with enough knowledge to play stump-the-chef. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.

6 comments on “SideDish Supper Club: The Backfin Story

  1. This is a fantastic idea for an event. i wont be there (i’ll be somewhere between jacquimo’s and the maple leaf bar, blind drunk at New Orleans Jazzfest) but our Chef Chase Cheatham will be attending.

    Willy & Robert (and Nancy) are the evening’s professors, but feel free to ask Chef Chase about retail availability of any of the fish you learn about. If Willy catches it we can bring it into Dallas.

    Kudos to D Magazine for putting this together.

  2. Nancy, this is a great story. I’m going to try to make the dinner. Would love to read more about your “seafood school” experience.

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