Rethinking Fish, Bycatch, and the History of the Gulf: An Interview with Chef PJ Stoops | Seafoodie

October 4, 2020

Waste not, want not: Rethinking Seafood

Robert Jones welcomes to the Seafoodie podcast Chef PJ Stoops, co-author of Texas Seafood: A Cookbook and Comprehensive Guide, to talk about the rich diversity of the Gulf of Mexico fishery, how we use and misuse this precious resource, and the intersection of fishing, food, harvest practices, and culture.  

Andrew Zimmern, James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, and author, described the book this way:  “PJ and Benchalak Stoops have written the definitive book on the seafood that comes out of the Gulf. The recipes are superb and the food is glorious, but the bigger message is the one that is vital to the national discourse: our planet is in the midst of a global food and climate crisis. Eating locally, cooking less popular species of smaller fish, and broadening our vision of what seafood on our plate looks like is a lasting legacy that makes Texas Seafood one of the most important cookbooks of this or any year.”

PJ's route to award-winning chef, author, and culinary revolutionary has been a circuitous.  After majoring in English and Philosophy at the University of Texas, Stoops bounced around restaurants in Austin, France, and Thailand, where he met his wife, Apple.  He launched a seafood distribution company out the back of his car well before “bycatch” became a buzzword and successfully introduced Almaco jacks and Pink Porgies to some of Texas’s best restaurants.  With his wife and co-author, Benchalak Srimart "Apple" Stoops, the Stoopses founded Foreign Correspondent, a farm-to-table Thai eatery in Houston named one of Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurants in 2015.  PJ was also the driving force behind Houston’s “Total Catch Market,” a regular event that sold bycatch seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

The abundance of seafood available from the northwest Gulf of Mexico includes hundreds of delicious species that are often overlooked by consumers.  Robert Jones and PJ Stoops explore this complex issue,  how we can use seafood more sustainably, reduce the tremendous waste of bycatch, and still enjoy beautiful wild-caught seafood.  

There is a better way. Find out how on this episode of the Seafoodie podcast with Robert Jones.  Only on the American Shoreline Podcast Network.

Show Transcription
This transcription was generated by a computer. Please excuse any errors.
Robert E. Jones

Chef Robert is a respected leader in sustainable seafood and a passionate advocate for global food systems reform. Before attending the Culinary Institute of America in Napa he had 20+ years of experience in government affairs, advocacy, and public policy including managing a sustainable fisheries portfolio for a global organization and as an appointee by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Today he advises clients on ways to promote sustainable seafood and tackle loss and waste in the supply chain.