The word sustainable in the context of food can be loaded with marketing muscle or buzz-friendly salesmanship. Much like how the terms ‘organic’ or ‘free-range’ can be misconstrued, such can be the case with ‘sustainable’. But what happens when ‘sustainable’ actually lives up to the expectations? When it has evidence, proof, and volition behind it? Then it can be a powerful thing. Which is what is happening at West Seattle’s Mashiko. Chef Hajime Sato has overturned Mashiko’s menu to be completely sustainable; it is one of only three sushi restaurants with this distinction nationwide. And it is the only one led by a Japanese-born sushi chef. Take the classical skill and tradition of a sushi chef with a modern desire to be stewards of the ocean and you have a powerful thing.
My food friend Nancy Leson, touched on the impetus of when Chef Hajime wanted to make the turn to sustainability. Interesting bit of backstory on how Mashiko will make this transition. And it’s for the benefit of consumers and the seafood we indulge in. It’s unfortunate that bluefin tuna has been so overfished that we may not be able to enjoy it again. And that’s the point of this shift to sustainability; serve what’s good, but also what’s available.