Tomorrow, shoppers at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket will have an Iron Chef-styled face-off to watch amidst the bustle of buying peaches. In a tent at the center of the market, chefs from Applewood restaurant in Park Slope and Cheryl’s Global Soul in Prospect Heights will have thirty minutes to execute a dish highlighting one fish has yet to be revealed, from Blue Moon Fish’s Greenmarket stand.
The competition is the second annual event of its kind for Grand Army Plaza’s Greenmarket. Last year, Nate Courtland of iCi and Rebecca Weitzman of Thistle Hill Tavern battled one another over fresh bonita from the Long Island-based fishmonger. Both teams attacked the whole fish, a smaller relative to tuna, making stocks from its bones and grilling up fillets and cheek portions under the open-air tents. Chili Takedown founder Matt Timms emcee’d the event; this year, Heritage Radio Network host Erin Fairbanks will oversee the mic.
This year’s event is also a collaboration between GrowNYC (which operates all Greenmarkets throughout the city), NAMA (Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance) and the New York Sea Grant. The organizers of each will be on hand to discuss why buying locally and sustainably caught fish is important to the environment, and our plates. Now that it’s officially the season for fish tacos, fried fish sandwiches, and lobster rolls, the event shines the spotlight on trusty local fishmongers like Blue Moon Fish, whose founder Alex Villani will be one of three judges for the competition.
“We think about where our tomato comes from, who grew it, how they grew it and how far it traveled before it ended up on our plates. We need to think the same way about our shellfish and seafood,” said Liz Carollo, GrowNYC/Greenmarket Publicity Manager.
“NAMA’s not-so-secret agenda is to raise awareness about the ecological and economic importance of locally caught seafood in our efforts to rebuild commercial fisheries, ensure our access to locally caught and sustainable seafood, and protect the marine environment,” said Brett Tolley, NAMA’s community organizer. “The family fishermen are going the way of the family farm leaving the ocean to the highest bidder, and turning fishermen into sharecroppers. These are lessons we have learned from food grown on land and need to apply to the food we get from the ocean.”
Who will win the throwdown, and what mystery fish will bait the imaginations of the chefs? Come to the Greenmarket Saturday between 11am — 1pm to watch it in action, and get some seafood to take home.