One day in 2012, Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, an environmental design teacher and co-founder of Bridgehampton’s Edible School Garden program, was having coffee with Sean Barrett, co-founder of Dock to Dish, the first community supported fishery (C.S.F.) in New York and the first restaurant supported fishery in the country.
They wondered why our abundant local bounty of nutritious fish isn’t on school lunch menus. Enter Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, the chefs Joseph Realmuto, Jason Weiner, and Sam and Kat McCleland; Stefanie Sacks, a culinary nutritionist, and Katie Baldwin, a co-founder and farmer at Amber Waves in Amagansett, and the ball got rolling. They brought in some big guns, Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, who developed the fish burger recipe, and Dan Barber of Blue Hill to help formulate the bun recipe. The wheat for the buns is grown at Amber Waves and the buns are baked by Carissa Waechter’s Carissa’s Breads in Southampton.
At an assembly the day before the first fish burgers were served to the entire school, kindergarten through 12th grade, the school superintendent, Dr. Lois Favre, told the children that in her 32 years of education she had never seen people so committed to a project. Ms. Brady said she had been trying to implement such a program without success for many years until now.
Ms. Sacks asked the kids to raise their hands if they cared about nutrition and most of them did. She asked them to raise their hands if they cared about the environment. Oh, well, maybe that word is too big for kindergartners. A short video from ABC’s “The Chew” featuring Mr. Barrett’s Dock to Dish was shown next. This being the era of fast-paced, get your attention TV, the segment was titled “Slim and Sexy,” and had exciting, dramatic footage of fishing and filleting and loud music and the ubiquitous Hamptons montage of girls in sundresses drinking rosé on the beach.
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