Fish and Beef – Where they come from and how to choose what to buy (and some beer to go with the meal)

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The United States Personal Chef Association brought together personal chefs from across the United States and Canada in Washington, D.C. over this past weekend. What an amazing learning experience for me! I’m sitting here at my desk looking over notes, going through a stack of business cards, “liking” colleagues on Facebook, connecting on Twitter and beginning to process the information I received over my six day stay in D.C.

I wanted to jump on my blog for a few minutes to share a few websites and information I discovered at the conference that might help you with the food choices you make. This isn’t my typical blogging style, but I think it is great information that will help you make informed purchases at the grocery store.

Over a delicious fish lunch on Friday we had the privilege of listening to Dr. Michael Rust, an aquaculture research scientist from NOAA. He spoke to us about Aquaculture, the benefits of eating fish, and the safety of purchasing and consuming fish from different regions of the world. NOAA has a website called FishWatch. It is an incredibly informative, comprehensive, easy-to-navigate website that provides easy-to-understand science-based facts to help consumers make smart sustainable seafood choices.  It even has easy seafood recipes! I highly recommend spending some time going through this website, which is updated frequently, to learn more about making informed seafood purchases.

What better way to follow lunch than by sampling beers? The two hours I spent with Megan Parisi, an award-winning brewer, were fascinating. I definitely walked away with a new respect for beer, a better understanding of how beer is made and my curiosity has been set in motion to begin doing more food and beer pairings for my clients. If you are interested in doing some beer pairings at home, I would highly recommend checking out the Brewers Association website. There are great articles on pairing foods with different styles of beer.

On Saturday morning I attended an eye-opening workshop dealing with beef: how the animals are raised, who raises them, what they are fed, antibiotic use, etc. Our class speaker, Darren Williams from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association brought along a young, energetic owner of a cow-calf operation in Ohio and feedyard in Nebraska. Talk about meeting your food source! I was enthralled listening to Janice and learning what actually happens in her daily life. She maintains a blog at If you want a snapshot of where your beef comes from, take a look at her blog. Another great resource that gives you a peek into where your beef comes from is

It is important to me to know where my food comes from. There is so much information available. I hope you’ll find these sites helpful to you in making informed choices at your grocery store.

My next blog will leave you salivating over your keyboard and make you want to catch the next flight to D.C. to eat at the Jaleo restaurant, so stay tuned!