Taking in the Trash


From the striped mullet to the bearded brotula, there’s a special class of fish that are underutilized, underloved and just plain unpopular. Many are scooped up alongside more desirable fish and then tossed back in the water. Another case in point: the lionfish, which is invasive, eats other fish and has no natural predators. To fishermen and chefs, they’re “trash fish,” and although some decry the term as pejorative, it sticks like fishsticks. It’s simply “a hot-button phrase,” says Michael Leviton, chef/owner at Newton’s Lumiere. Leviton is a longtime champion of sustainability, especially when it comes to seafood.

And so, two years after the publication of The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook—for which Leviton wrote an introductory essay—he’s working on a cookbook tentatively titled Trash Fish: Hidden Treasures from the Ocean to Your Table. Among the varieties, Leviton says he has “no particular favorite,” as it depends on the season, catch method and availability. His goal isn’t just to share recipes; ultimately, Leviton says he’d like the book to play a role in increasing momentum toward sustainable zero-bycatch fishing, in which the entire edible catch is used. Leviton is still fishing for a publisher: “The proposal is out there, and we’ve had a few nibbles, pardon the pun.”

Young Turk

Josh Turka has been named executive chef at The Salty Pig. Turka, whose background includes a stint at B&G Oysters, was most recently sous-chef under Kevin O’Donnell. The latter will take the reins at SRV, another CODA Group restaurant, when it opens in November. Turka has some unusual qualifications: He earned a master’s degree in geology and worked as an English teacher in Italy, where he discovered his true passion was cooking, rather than rocks.

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