The Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island, Eating with the Ecosystem, and the Rhode Island Food Policy Council are joining together to launch a new series of online cooking classes, “Cook a Fish, Give a Fish!”
These online classes not only raise eaters’ seafood game through small-group seafood tutorials led by local chefs, they also raise funds to deliver local seafood to families experiencing hunger.
The new program comes as the coronavirus era presents a number of challenges – as well as some promising learning opportunities – for fishermen, chefs, seafood businesses and eaters.
“In general, most Americans are not very comfortable cooking seafood at home,” said Kate Masury, program director at the nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem. “The majority of seafood we consume in the U.S., about 70 percent, is actually consumed in restaurants. With restaurants having to limit their operations in order to maintain social distancing, that means the market for our locally caught seafood is also severely limited, which impacts our local fishermen and seafood businesses.”
“Our new online cooking classes will inspire local consumers to expand their repertoire and explore new recipes with family and friends in their own homes,” added Fred Mattera, executive director of the Commercial Fisheries Center. “Even more importantly, the classes will generate funds to process fish donated by the fishing industry and provide this fish to families in need.”
With the nation’s unemployment rate surpassing 11 percent, demand for food pantry services has surged. The organization Feeding America estimates that one in six Americans will experience food insecurity this year. Each ticket to a “Give a Fish, Cook a Fish!” class will purchase 10 seafood meals for Rhode Island families who can’t afford to buy fish this summer.
Here’s how it works: Each weekly class session is led by a different local chef. The chef sends out a recipe and participants source all of the ingredients themselves, including the fish (organizers can provide advice on where to look). Typically, classes will center around whole fish, rather than processed fish. When class day arrives, participants connect on a video chat. Then, in kitchens across the Ocean State, they socialize, learn about local fisheries, and turn whole fish into delicious homemade meals for their families to enjoy.
To sign up for a “Cook a Fish, Give a Fish!” class, go to eventbrite.com/e/112145084968. Tickets cost $75 per household and all proceeds after expenses will be used to share fish to families in need.