Scott Wraith (pictured at right) is the Corporate Food Purchasing Director for Canyon Ranch Resorts and Hotels. In all of its locations - Tucson, Arizona, Lenox, Massachusetts and Miami Beach, Florida - Canyon Ranch has implemented sustainable seafood programs; known for health and wellness, the resort is simply extending that concept to the well-being of the planet. Scott believes that ocean conservation is vital not only to the health of ocean species, but to the health of the ocean itself and thus the health of the human race.
What is your favorite seafood to eat?
Our Chef does some wonderful things with fish. One of my favorites is probably the Coconut Crusted Mahi Mahi with Horseradish Orange Marmalade. We also do a Tuna Carpaccio with micro greens, amazing!
What's the most popular seafood item that Canyon Ranch offers?
In our resort we have a rotating 7-day menu and there is a different seafood choice for lunch and dinner each day. By doing this we offer 14 different seafood entrée’s each week. This creates a wonderful variety for our guests but also increases our responsibility to choose sustainable products. Among the most popular are the Salmon Teriyaki and Halibut with Pineapple Vanilla Salsa.
How did you get interested in the issue of sustainable seafood?
I first learned of the affects of unsustainable fishing when I first went Scuba Diving. Part of the educational material presented in the classes is the fact that in order to enjoy the undersea environment for ourselves and preserve it for our children we need to become part of the solution. I have the fortunate position to help shape the choices of our company as well as the choices I make personally.
How would you describe your philosophy on ocean conservation?
There has never been a more important time to make the right choices when it comes to the food we eat, especially seafood. The decisions we make with our food dollars will impact future generations in ways that is probably not fully realized yet. Ocean conservation is vital to not only the health of the ocean species but to the health of the ocean itself thus the health of the human race.
How has your philosophy changed what fish you purchase?
I keep a chart of the most common fish species in my office that shows not only sustainable options but also from where not to buy fish. It is important to know both pieces of information when making choices. I use several sources of information including Sourcing Seafood for building these charts.
Have your customers noticed?
In our resorts we have a very well traveled and savvy clientele. We frequently get questions regarding the source of our seafood and it feels good to not only be able to give them this information but know that we are confident that the information we provide is correct and up to date.
Do you feel it limits what you can offer?
Well, yes. But that is not a bad thing. There is still an abundance of good, sustainable seafood to choose from and it encourages creativity in our Chefs. It has become a necessary sacrifice to ensure the long-term availability.
Have your seafood purveyors worked with you on getting sustainably caught seafood?
Yes. We use a very good seafood house out of Santa Barbara who is very focused on sustainability as well as a MSC certified suppler out of Santa Monica. We have found there to be some mis-information out there which makes it all the more important to have your facts straight.
What trends have you noticed in seafood in the past 10 years?
The awareness of the general restaurant patron has increased dramatically over the last 10 years. Not only in our restaurants but more and more when I go out to eat the menus mention the move to sustainable seafood.
Why do you work with Seafood Choices Alliance?
To support the ongoing efforts needed to educate our staff, customers and myself on the importance and effects of the choices we make.
Posted October 15, 2008
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