Patagonia headquarters chef Tracy On in Sitka to develop new Fish to Schools program recipes

TracyOnWithSalmonFriedRiceSalmonMacAndCheese

Tracy On shows off a serving of chum salmon fried rice (front) and pink salmon macaroni and cheese that she tested Friday (Aug. 26) at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. Tracy is in town for a two-week internship with the Sitka Conservation Society to develop new recipes for the Fish to Schools program.

TracyOnPreparesToSliceChumSalmonIn her regular job, Tracy On is the chef at Patagonia headquarters in Ventura, Calif., serving about 500 breakfasts and lunches a day to Patagonia employees. For her summer vacation, Tracy is in Sitka developing new recipes for the Fish to Schools program as part of a two-week internship with the Sitka Conservation Society.

“I’m working on recipes for Fish to Schools, so we can incorporate a little more local salmon in the school lunches,” Tracy said. “I also had personal reasons for coming here. I wanted to learn more about the fishing industry and how to connect the kids to their local food sources. I’m also a little selfish. I’ve always wanted to come to Alaska and this is my first trip.”

During her first week in Sitka, Tracy spent several days at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen testing new recipes. She also did a morning interview with KCAW-Raven Radio on Wednesday to help spread the word about her visit. On Friday, Tracy prepared a chum salmon fried rice dish and a pink salmon macaroni and cheese dish, then took a tour of the newly renovated Sitka Salmon Shares plant. She also has been working on a salmon corn dog and other recipes.

Tracy is trying to create recipes the kids will enjoy, what she called “comfort classics kids love,” while also keeping costs down because most school districts don’t receive more than $2 or $3 per student meal for their school lunch programs. That’s one reason she has been working with pink and chum salmon while in Sitka, because the costs are lower. She also is testing recipes that can be cooked from scratch, as well as ones that just require reheating, since school districts use different methods to prepare their meals. The Sitka Conservation Society will host an invitation-only tasting this week where SCS members and guests can try out a few of the new meals.

TrayOfChumSalmon“The main reason to host Tracy is to bring the Fish to Schools program to the next step,” said Sophie Nethercut, who coordinates the program for the Sitka Conservation Society. “We’ve been running this program on donations, and with the funding climate the way it is, we wanted to create a line of minimally processed recipes using pink and chum salmon that can be marketed to schools, nursing homes and hospitals.”

Tracy isn’t the first intern the Sitka Conservation Society has hosted from Patagonia, which has been sending employees to Sitka for the past three years to work on a variety of projects. Other Patagonia interns held workshops on repairing outdoor gear or helped with computer systems while in Sitka.

Tracy will be in town one more week, which will include a couple of sessions working on new recipes at the Sitka Kitch and the tasting event. She also hopes to get out on a commercial fishing boat and possibly visit other seafood processors in town.

Also, local commercial fishermen can still donate coho salmon to the Fish to Schools program, as the annual donation drive has been extended until Aug. 30.

 

• Alaska Department of Fish and Game releases first fishing report of 2010 season

Sockeye salmon hang in a smoker in preparation for the 2009 ANSWER Camp program

Sockeye salmon hang in a smoker in preparation for the 2009 ANSWER Camp program

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released its first sport fishing report for the 2010 season.

The Sport Harvest Rates for the Week of April 26-May 2, 2010, includes a sampling of marine boat creel surveys from the ports of Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau and Yakutat. The current report looks at chinook (king) salmon and halibut harvest rates for the past week, including how long it typically took an angler to catch a fish.

Fishing was going well for chinook salmon in Sitka, with seven rod hours per salmon harvested. This is better than last year’s 25 rod hours for the same week and the 33 rod hours for the same week in 2008. It also was better than the five-year average (2005-09) of 13 rod hours per salmon. Chinook salmon fishing was better than average in Petersburg and Wrangell, but slower than normal in Juneau and Yakutat, with Ketchikan yet to report a fish.

Sitka, Wrangell and Yakutat were the only harbors to report sport catches of halibut last week, and all reported five rod hours per halibut. That is somewhat better in Sitka than the five-year average of eight rod hours per fish for the same week. No coho (silver), pink (humpy) or chum (dog) salmon were counted during the creel surveys.

The report also listed salmon derbies this spring and summer in Southeast Alaska.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game website still needs to remove last year’s reports and add this year’s, but that should happen in the near future. Future fishing reports should be updated every week through the summer, and they will be found at this link once the site is updated. News releases and emergency orders issued for the 2010 sport fisheries in Southeast Alaska can be viewed at this link.

Sport Harvest Rates for the Week of April 26-May 2, 2010