A group of French chefs have been traveling around Kodiak Island to learn about Alaska wild salmon.
They have been meeting with local seafood processors in hope of sourcing king and coho salmon for import back to France where they plan to smoke it using french recipes.
Retired Chef Joel Chenet, who lives in Kodiak, and is involved with Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, or ASMI, is hosting the group.
“For me, it has been a good experience to be with them and be able to show them Kodiak and show them the way we treat the salmon and the people and all the industry around it,” said Chenet. “Show them that the economy is based on the fish and also to see that the canneries, the factories are doing fantastic work with the products.”
He says that most salmon in France is currently imported from Ireland, where it is organically farmed.
Lionel Durot, who has a smoked salmon business in Brittany, is eager to add wild, Alaska salmon to his label.
With translation provided by Chenet, Durot explains, “he cannot wait to have his products done and have a salmon and bagel and have it served in the best hotel in France for breakfast.”
Durot is a member of the association of the the French Culinary College (Cullinaire de Francais).
Patrick Oheix, also on the trip and a member of the association, says the goals of the organization are:
“The first one is to promote a culture of diversity; meet human health needs contribute to the preservation of our planet, building a social economy of quality, highlight, promote and perpetrate the culinary heritage, bring out a system based on craftsmanship that is economically sustainable in the face of the current destructive system and then we would like to find the transparency in the plate and promote seasonality, because we consider seasonality very important. It is the case for salmon, for example,” said Oheix.
A French T-V crew with the channel TF1 (té effe un) traveled with the group filming for a segment about Alaska wild salmon that is scheduled to air in France in December.
Chenet says he plans to transport salmon from Trident Seafoods here in Kodiak to France. Durot will use that salmon for recipe testing.
Durot plans to have products featuring Alaska wild salmon available in France right in time for the winter holidays.
The group visited Port Lions, Alitak Bay and Kodiak and returned to France Tuesday [7/17].