Though Seattle Fish Company has a 30,000 sf freezer in their current location, which they moved to in 1985, to be closer to then airport Stapleton, now 85% of their fish is fresh.
That 85% arrives in boxes, on ice, and only 15% arrives and is kept frozen.
On Thursdays and Sundays, they have trucks coming in from 4 cities – Miami [biggest], Seattle, L.A. and Boston [smallest].
The trucks only take a day and a half to arrive, which ensures freshness.
Once arrived, at receiving, the gills are checked, and the temperature is taken, to assure optimum condition.
A 96-year old company, this 3rd generation family business was started in 1918, when 16-year old Mose Iacino had the vision to bring fresh seafood from Seattle to Denver and surrounding areas.
Mose’s son Ed, and grandchildren James and Cheslea, now run Seattle Fish as a leader in the Western U.S., and work hard daily to assure high standards and sustainable practices.
On this day, we followed two kinds of fish from receiving to the plate.
This is their Fishmonger for a Day program, in which media can come experience the process firsthand, and then enjoy a meal together afterwards.
The first – Gulf wild, long line caught Grouper – from the Gulf of Mexico.
The second – New Zealand Golden Snapper – considered the Crown Jewel of snappers, which James kindly had brought in especially for our group.
Much of the fish that Seattle Fish processes is on a tagging system.
A chef can log in to the tagging/tracking system and see within 10 miles of where it was caught.
This is a 24/7 operation, and when we’re there, the day shift of cutters are on duty.
Each is set up at their own station, expertly cutting fish of all varieties and sizes.
James himself, held this job as he was learning the business.
It requires incredible skill to minimize waste, and I was happy to learn they have a partnership where they provide the scraps to a local pet food company, so there is actually virtually no waste.
Some of those pets are eating better than we are!
You should also know they have a Lobster Room.
I would now like one of these in my own home.
In this room, live lobsters are kept in tanks of water mimicking sea water, so they’re at their absolute freshest.
In the shipping area, boxes marked with the names of some of Denver’s best restaurants – Il Posto, Elway’s, Oceanaire – await delivery.
Our fish was boxed and packed to head to Il Posto, where Chef/Owner Andrea Frizzi made us a multi-course meal on the fly.
A day doesn’t get much better than that.
Grouper Crudo with grilled mushroom and fava bean puree
Tagliatelle with ramp pesto, grouper, garbanzo and a grilled ramp to garnish
Pea Risotto with Golden Snapper
Salted Caramel Budino [this had no fish in it; this wasn’t Iron Chef!]
It was an educational and delicious day, and it made me proud to know a company of this caliber operates in Denver.
Emilie Rusch from the Denver Post was part of our media group on this visit, and wrote this wonderful, comprehensive piece [including recipes!]. Note: Those two fish you see in the main picture, she and I helped scale!