Sky Full of Bacon

Sky Full of Bacon 12: In the Land of Whitefish

It may not be the deadliest catch, but come with me as I go on a whitefish boat to catch one of the classic fishes of Great Lakes dining, and explore the history and prospects for this very local and sustainable fish.

Sky Full of Bacon 12: In the Land of Whitefish from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

True Great Lakes whitefish are one of the classics of midwestern dining— and a local and sustainable choice to boot. In the second of my two-part exploration of fish and sustainability, I go on a Lake Michigan whitefish boat to see how they’re fished, talk with the family that runs a fifth-generation, 130-year-old Wisconsin fishery, and talk to chefs and fish sellers (including a 92-year-old “retired” fish seller who still comes in to work every day) about what makes these fish special—if, sometimes, a hard sell to diners looking for the latest thing. It runs 19:54; be sure to also watch the first in this series, A Better Fish.

Here’s Susie Q Fish Co.’s site.

Here’s Robert’s Fish Market founder Robert Schuffler’s gefilte fish recipe:

Here’s a nice video I found about very local fish in Montauk, New York.

And be sure to read Art Jackson (SFOB #7)’s observations in the comments section.


About Sky Full of Bacon

Sky Full of Bacon #11: A Better Fish
Sky Full of Bacon #10: Prosciutto di Iowa
Sky Full of Bacon #9: Raccoon Stories
Sky Full of Bacon #8: Pear-Shaped World
Sky Full of Bacon #7: Eat This City
Sky Full of Bacon #6: There Will Be Pork (pt. 2)
Sky Full of Bacon #5: There Will Be Pork (pt. 1)
Sky Full of Bacon #4: A Head’s Tale
Sky Full of Bacon #3: The Last Brisket Show
Sky Full of Bacon #2: Duck School
Sky Full of Bacon #1: How Local Can You Go?

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6 Responses to “Sky Full of Bacon 12: In the Land of Whitefish”

  1. art Says:

    Awesome piece. I’ve really been looking forward to this one. I was introduced to whitefish a little over 6 years ago. As someone who had cooked in fine dining restaurants it just never came up as part of the seafood repertoire. When I took a job at a more casual place whitefish was kind of forced upon me because it had been such a popular item with the restaurant’s clientele. I had honestly never tasted or purchased it. I’ve learned a lot about it since then and this video helps to complete the picture.

    Having eaten a fair amount of whitefish in these past six years I’ve come to enjoy it. One great quality about whitefish is that even though it is a fresh water fish it doesn’t have that murkiness that is more apparent in other fresh water fish. Another great quality about it is that, like the fish monger said, fish is the easiest thing to prepare (to a certain degree) and whitefish is no exception. Seasoned well with salt, pepper, herbs, butter and lemon and fired under the broiler it doesn’t get much simpler and tastier. I’ve gone from never even tasting whitefish to serving it regularly over the years to a local billionaire who called me out to his table to tell me that I cook the best fish he’s ever had and then tipped me with a 50 pound note (peculiar, yes, but the exchange rate is quite favorable.) I was flattered but also know that his experience is equally dependent on the quality of the product.

    It was nice to see those guys out on the water sorting the fish. I think that will put things into perspective for a lot of chefs the next time they order whitefish and “jumbos” or even “medium jumbos” are not available. It’s also very humbling to see how hard people work to bring food to our tables.

  2. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Thanks A Lot, Geniuses Says:

    […] Note: This is a customer dissatisfaction rant, if you want food stuff, scroll down to see two posts about my latest video podcast, In the Land of Whitefish. […]

  3. Matthew Says:

    One of my favorites so far!

  4. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Big Southern Star Says:

    […] A couple of things on the menu when we went in December are still on it— the duck orleans, aka cassoulet, and the mahi fish tacos, for instance— but the left side of the menu has been reconfigured for carb-driven bar snacks, starting with the authentically ubiquitous Southern nosh cheese straws, and the equally ubiquitous Chicago restaurant trendy pigout food of the moment, poutine.  We started with delicate hush puppies accompanied by a comfy smoked trout dip (smoked trout from Susie-Q Fisheries, seen in Sky Full of Bacon #12): […]

  5. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » A Short Guide to Videomaking For Food Writers* (*and any other journalist with a camera) Says:

    […] guy at Sun Wah inflated a duck with a gas station air hose, I knew I had a money shot.  When the whitefish fishermen were pulling rope from the water against a painterly sky like sailors in Moby Dick, it was a money […]

  6. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Sky Full of Bacon 15: Big Chef Small Farmer Says:

    […] Cheese Sky Full of Bacon #13: Pie As a Lifestyle Sky Full of Bacon Short: Edzo’s Burger Shop Sky Full of Bacon #12: In the Land of Whitefish Sky Full of Bacon #11: A Better Fish Sky Full of Bacon #10: Prosciutto di Iowa Sky Full of Bacon […]