Editor’s note: this is the second half of a 2-part interview. Click the link to read the first half of our interview with Casson Trenor.
Casson Trenor is a best-selling author, sustainability expert, greenpeace veteran, co-owner of the first sustainable sushi bar in the US and so much more. We’ve been watching this thought leader for years, even singling out Trenor and his Tataki restaurant in a post, Sustainable Sushi – who’s doing something about it?.
He is also portrayed in Peter Heller’s book, The Whale Warriors – recounting his exploits in a small ship in the South Pacific, determined to attack the whaling problem back in 2005.
So it’s our distinct pleasure to pick Casson’s brain about the current state of sustainability, especially as it relates to sushi. But be sure to read the first half of this interview or you’ll miss some great information!
: Tell us a little about how Tataki
came about, and what it has become today.
Casson Trenor is the author of Sustainable Seafood, A Guide to Saving the Oceans One Bite at a Time which has become the bible for conscientious sushi lovers. Read this interview, then immediately buy his book — we promise you’ll learn a lot!
Casson is also the Senior Markets Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, and has been actively involved with Greenpeace for years. He is an internationally recognized sustainability expert who also runs the sustainablesushi.net website. He was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment in 2009, and in 2010, Trenor received the “Ocean Protection Hero” award from the “Save Our Shores” environmental organization.
Casson is also co-owner of the Tataki (www.tatakisushibar.com) restaurant chain of sustainable sushi bars on the West Coast. The original Tataki Sushi was the first sustainable sushi bar in the US, and has inspired many other operators.
And there is so much more, but trotting out his lengthy list of accolades would just take up too much space. So let’s skip the rest and just get right to the interview!
: Why should sushi lovers care about sustainability?
Rating: Japanese Market
Sushi Chef Michio Kushi at Japanese Market
1412 79th Street Causeway
North Bay Village, FL 33141
There’s a great little Japanese market on the 79th Street Causeway in North Miami run by a Japanese family, headed up by Chef Michio Kushi. The market opened in 1983, run by the current owner’s brother-in-law.
In 2002 they added a sushi bar, with counter seating and a table giving them a capacity of about twelve people. The proprietor is also the sushi chef, Michio Kushi, and his family helps run the store as well.
We’ve been coming to this market for years; their selection of Japanese food and non-perishables is extensive. They carry the premium quality Japanese rice for example, uncommon even for Asian groceries. But this 79th street causeway sushi bar, called Sushi Deli, is a nice destination in it’s own right. Here’s how a Sushi Deli sushi run went down for us last weekend.
They have a great little menu for such a small place, and reasonable prices to boot. Rolls are in the $5-10 range, and nigirizushi is $1-5. And despite being a small sushi counter, they prepare some hot foods in the back to balance out the menu.
As I eat and write about sushi I wonder why. Why so many things. Sushi was pretty nasty stuff in centuries past, but started getting really good in the nineteenth century. Then in the 1960’s the American sushi invasion began – a bittersweet turning point for some, in the following decades it would transform sushi in many profound ways.
So I look at the current sushi scene and I contemplate some of the less important things in the universe. Here are ten of them.
10. Why do sushi newbies want Western tastes slathered onto already rolls that are already distinctly non-Japanese in character? If you’re eating a salmon and cream cheese roll, why smother it in orange sauce?
You should be getting up to speed eating veggie rolls, spider rolls (fried soft shell crab), seaweed items like hijiki or wakame, ramen, cooked items like unagi, and so much more that is not intimidating to the fish-fearing newbies.
Here are our picks for the top ten trends in sushi for 2012. It’s a mixed bag – we have the good, the bad and the ugly all represented.
Be sure to let us know if we left out anything you think is going to be big in 2012. These are just our hunches after all. Also if you disagree with one of our predictions, please say so and we’ll see after this year passes if either of us were correct!
10. farmed shellfish
Americans and Europeans seem to be fairly stereotyped as consuming disproportionate amounts of finned fish in their sushi bars. That may be true, but we think it is slowly changing course.
Sustainable sushi experts like I Love Blue Sea‘s founder Martin Reed are quick to point out that farmed shellfish are on balance strongly beneficial to the environment. That’s mainly due to being “filter feeders”, but it’s also in stark contrast to most farmed fish operations, which are often ecological nightmares.
Americans will begin to vary their sushi bar consumption to include more farmed shellfish in 2012. Just you watch and see!
8255 International Drive, Suite 136
Orlando, FL 32819
Let me tell you a little story about a place I found called Hanamizuki Japanese Restaurant. Owner and Sushi Chef Toshi Kishimoto runs this terrific and authentic Japanese restaurant located right in a main tourist area of Orlando, Florida.
It’s a little hard to find, tucked away in a little shopping center out of sight from a busy street in a big tourist area. But if you can find it, you’ll be rewarded with a menu chocked full of tasty treats.
One cannot help but notice the tranquil ambiance created by the tasteful Japanese themed decor and relaxing Japanese music playing in the background. The entrance is decorated as an entrance to a Japanese gardens. In fact even the outside entrance is marked with a replica of a carved stone marker you might expect to find in Tokyo.