ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jason Gordon just wants to feed people.
He normally prefers to do it inside the cozy confines of his St. Petersburg seafood restaurant. The coronavirus pandemic changed that.
The executive chef at the Big Catch at Salt Creek is in the same bittersweet boat as a lot of his cooking peers.
Gordon can only serve takeout food right now and hope his life — and Tampa Bay's seafood industry — will soon return to normal.
“We’re facing unprecedented times right now,” says Gordon.
The good news? Local seafood is in abundance and very affordable right now.
The bad news? Sales and shipments seriously slowed due to the international pandemic.
Gordon is teaming up with seafood website Fishmonger Approved, which celebrates fishing boats, bait shops, chefs, restaurant workers and more in the Tampa Bay area.
Fishmonger Approved is run by seafood and marketing pros Margaret and Rachel Covello, a married couple who invited Gordon to give a cooking tutorial in their big backyard.
The Tampa Bay seafood industry needs some love, and the Covellos are urging everyone to buy fish any which way.
“What we’re trying to do is help the fishermen all the way down the supply chain to the guy that sells the bait,” says Margaret.
“We support the consumer, the seafood chefs, everybody,” adds Rachel.
The Fishmonger Approved site is packed with recipes and videos and shout-outs to local crabbers, wholesalers and more.
It is running the recipe and pictures of one of Gordon’s Big Catch specialties, Grilled Everything Red Snapper.
The website also just added a hogfish recipe from celebrity chef Jeffrey Jew of Lingr restaurant (opening 2020), former executive chef of BellaBrava and Stillwaters Tavern.
The Covellos plan to highlight more local culinary stars on their website in the coming weeks.