William Deemer is a culinary chef from the Art Institutes International Minnesota.


What did you serve and how was it received?

Well personally, I didn't serve anything. I was just part of the deal. I had the facility to bring all the chefs together. And that's kind of what I wanted to do. I wanted to bring the University of Minnesota, and then four chefs from the twin cities together at my place to gain some awareness for organic seafood as well as for the institute.

Do you feel it's important to enlighten people about how good fish like Carp can taste?

I think it's extremely important. I mean there is, number one, commercially fished, there are a lot of games that are played. There's a lot of freezing and refreezing and it's an unethical business. And from that standpoint, as well as, you know, we're going to fish it out. We need to find some other sources. And this type of fish has great texture, great flavor, and was received very well. The chefs were only getting it at the last minute were still able to work with it. So it still has all the integrity of commercially fished fish. I think it's important too bring people's awareness to this matter.

Do you see the benefits of Carp in comparison for farmed Salmon and Shrimp?

Yes, because those kinds of products are using fishmeal. They're adding dye to the salmon. You're losing some of the integrity. What is it doing to the ecological system? I wonder. Especially when you think about the nuts and the berries that these fish eat, because the flavors that are going to be imparted naturally in these fish are just going to be tremendous. It's going to give us a much better dynamic product with a lot of characteristics.

Do you think these fish can be as good tasting as Blue Fin Tuna?

Absolutely. I think what it takes is that educational component and we talked about it today when we were having a discussion. If we get some of the cultural recipes and the history of, for instance, Carp. I mean, Carp has always been known as the lowest form (of fish) but it has a very rich history and people don't know it. It's the first I knew of it today.

And I've been using fish for a long time. I've fished Carp as a kid or used it as bait. So I think that's it. The story when you put in the banana leaf and it boils for 8 hours and then you sing and you dance and then finally you eat the fish. You know, that's what's going to help to bring this to the forefront. And when you taste it, it's a great tasting product. But it has the stigma and it needs to be brought to the attention of small independent restaurants like the folks we had here. They are the ones who are going to start bringing it to the forefront.

Do diners and customers appreciate your ecological awareness?

I think so, because every time the net catches the dolphin, for instance, then the press latches onto it and people start to become aware. So I think it's two fold. It's not just going to happen with a handful of independent restaurants. It's going to have to be a big name, chef Emeril or somebody that starts to grasp it, or Paul Prudhomme, or somebody who can bring it to the forefront. Then the press picks it up and then it will gain a lot of national attention.

Is there an appreciation for this food in terms of taste?

I think so, and since we are an educational facility, our diners tend to have a lot of questions about what we're serving. So I think that will lend itself to some more conversation and I think then, once they have the understanding that they would appreciate knowing what's really going on and what this product is all about.

Does it make you feel better that you are not contributing to the demise of ocean stocks?

When Deborah came to me and asked me to partner, I felt that anything we needed to do to make this happen and get some awareness was important. I'm part of a whole cycle. There's the retail component, there's the chef, and there's the restaurant. I won't let Mexican tomatoes into my restaurant because of things like that. So I do like to take a strong stand on finding some other sources. It makes me feel that I'm contributing to a very worthy cause.