Zimmern learned how to handle and cook seafood growing up on the coast in New York.
Even among the sea of celebrity chefs who attend the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen each year, Andrew Zimmern stands out as an immediately recognizable face. The host of Bizarre Foods and serial entrepreneur spends much of his time using that face to bring attention to humanitarian and environmental issues within the food world. At last year’s Classic, he hosted a lunch to showcase sustainably farmed seafood from a selection of providers, including Pacifico striped bass, Riverence trout, Island Creek oysters, Fair Trade-certified Del Pacifico shrimp and Verlasso salmon—each a leader in their category and all handpicked by the famous chef. Zimmern got involved in this particular cause after being approached by Verlasso, an ocean farm located off the shores of Chilean Patagonia. “Why doesn’t aquafarming have the same romance as dirt farming?” he posits. “Fish farming has been a First People’s tradition for thousands of years. We just haven’t seen it done well at scale.” Until now. When Zimmern toured Verlasso’s facilities, he visited with an open mind and was impressed. “The alternative to aquaculture is consuming all wild seafood, and that’s not sustainable,” says Zimmern. “I can point a flashlight on companies that have been doing it and doing it well. … Plus, I’m a Cancer.”