About next week's featured Fresh Thoughts chef, Patrick Morrow of Ryleigh's Oyster:
Morrow was born and raised in Texas and North Carolina. And it shows through in his broad-shouldered, but still sophisticated cuisine. Attention to detail, inventive ingredients, and a skillful balance of elements within each dish are hallmarks of Chef Morrow’s style, and they keep his menus fresh.
His adamant focus on local and sustainable produce, meats and seafood began during his tenure as sous chef at VIN in Towson and then as executive chef at Ryleigh's Oyster in Federal Hill. After firmly establishing Ryleigh’s Oyster as part of the Baltimore food scene, Morrow left to open Bluegrass Tavern, a restaurant of his own conception, where he operated as executive chef during the opening year to the delight of restaurant critics and patrons alike.
Always keeping an eye to the horizon, seeking new challenges and tackling new cuisines, the restaurant group responsible for Ryleigh’s Oyster has recently been able to lure Chef Morrow back into their folds. He is currently embarking on several new projects for the group.
In preparation for next week's dinner, we chatted with Patrick about how sustainable seafood is changing the culinary scene throughout the mid-Atlantic region:
What’s your favorite sustainable seafood ingredient to prepare?
It's tough to choose just one favorite ingredient, but would have to say the farmed oysters would be at the top of my list.
How is sustainable seafood playing a role in Baltimore’s dining scene?
I think in the recent years, chefs have become more aware of what they are buying and how they are sourcing the foods they purchase. So you are seeing an increase of sustainable seafood on different menus.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to cooking sustainably?
The hardest part was finding a good seafood supplier that understood what we were looking for and was willing to supply us with the highest quality sustainable seafood available.
What is one sustainable seafood ingredient you hope to see more of in restaurants (including your own) this year?
Maybe it's the Southerner in me, but would love to see more people using catfish!
If everyone could walk away from our Fresh Thoughts dinner knowing one thing, it would be …
Just to spend extra time figuring out a little more about the seafood products that they are buying and how there is a lot of alternatives out there.
How can people better understand sustainable seafood issues concerning oysters?
I think with increased education of how the wild oyster beds are depleting and side effects that it has caused in the bay. And to show people alternatives to wild oysters, with the growing number of high quality farmed oysters in the market place.
To learn more about our sustainable seafood program and other conservation initiatives, click here.