The Accidental Pescatarian

My supervisor says, “People are either born into the seafood industry or they fall into it by accident.” After 8 months in the industry, I can attest to this statement. I am surrounded by people from multi-generation seafood families and then those like myself who happened to be in the right place at the right time when a job opening became available.

Admittedly, when I began my job at Wulf’s Fish, I did not have vast knowledge about fish. Sure, I learned a fair amount about cooking seafood during my culinary program but not much about fishing practices, different species, seasonality, etc. These topics were briefly discussed at times, but not enough where it actually stuck in my brain. Needless to say, these past 8 months have been an intensive master class in all things fish.

It would take years for me to catch up to some of my colleagues with decades in the industry, but I am getting better at identifying species by just looking at them (both whole and filleted). I work with so many knowledgeable people, and I am soaking in their wisdom every day.

In a dynamic role, my work looks different every day, but my favorite part is when I get to cook in our test kitchen. Below is a picture from our holiday photo shoot. We curated a special kit for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, and I cooked the dishes you see in the photo. My supervisor helps me with food styling, and she takes all the photography, although this one is from my iPhone. That was one of my favorite days so far.

Feast of the Seven Fishes photo shoot

My job does keep me very busy helping to manage our e-Commerce store, but one of my marketing roles is writing our newsletter where we highlight things like new products, recipes, and videos. We have a catalogue of recipes featuring our products, and I have been contributing to that list. My very first week, we collectively worked on a recipe for shrimp rolls. We collaborate on content ideas and work together to implement them.

My supervisor asked if I could make a beurre blanc sauce (something I absolutely learned at school). We used that luscious sauce to highlight one of our branded caviars. We also did a collaboration with Maine Grains, where I wrote a recipe for black sea bass with creamy mushroom sauce and polenta. Then most recently, I came up with this simple seared swordfish chop after I couldn’t stop talking about the one I made on Thanksgiving.

So what do I mean by “accidental pescatarian.” Like I implied earlier, I came into this role by chance. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate seafood. It just wasn’t where I saw myself. I didn’t grow up around the bounty of fresh seafood we have here in New England. Long John Silver’s and frozen fish sticks aren’t exactly the best that fish has to offer.

I really enjoyed the seafood classes in my BU program. I even had to cook a skin-on piece of arctic char for my final project. Even though I learned some great skills, I still wasn’t buying seafood for my home cooking. Supermarket offerings aren’t impressive, and the local fish markets weren’t in my grad student budget.

Since starting my job, my diet has been dominated by seafood. I have functionally become a pescatarian. I am not avoiding meat. I did have a slice of pepperoni pizza this week, but I haven’t gone out of my way to buy meat. Why would I need to when I have access to all this high-quality fish? At first, I wanted to try as much as possible so I could talk to customers about our products. I get a lot of questions about how to cook our fish, and now that I have tried over 50 of our offerings, I am better able to write and talk about what we sell, but now it’s turned into more of lifestyle.

Let’s just say working here has ruined me forever for mediocre seafood. Our seafood is flash frozen at its peak of freshness, and it tastes better than all the “fresh” fish I’ve ever bought at a supermarket. All this fish eating I’ve been doing has opened up a brand-new obsession. I am always thinking about the next fish I am going to cook. My Instagram is now mostly pictures of the fish dishes I make at home (such as the examples below), and I must say I continue to impress myself. Maybe in 2023 we might even see some original seafood recipes appearing on the blog.

Seared black sea bass over corn and tomato salad with pesto and microgreens

This past year has had its challenges. I had to readjust to normal life post grad school. I moved and started a new job. I’ve had a lot of quiet time alone, but I have also fulfilled my fantasy of being one with the sea. As demonstrated below, we have a gorgeous view of the Boston harbor from work, and it’s magnificent at sunset. I also live up the street from the ocean and ride along the coast for almost my entire commute.

Boston Harbor at sunset