At this year's US Open, the first for Skuna Bay Salmon to be available at the world famous tennis tournament, Dave Mergle and Jonathan Larry attended to make sure our salmon was meeting expectations. Here is their story...
Thursday, Sept. 6th: Last flight to Newark, NJ, only direct flight to NYC. Off to the Open to see, taste, smell how the Open's great chefs are preparing their Skuna Bay Salmon.
Friday, Sept. 7th: 10 AM: meeting at Food and Wine magazine for a private Skuna Bay unveiling and tasting for Tina Ujlaki and the chefs from the test kitchen. Top Chef Jen Carroll meets us at the door with her own special knives. Jen loves our salmon and agreed to fillet the fish and give her own special insights into why she likes it. We meet Tina - she seems intrigued. Takes us to the test kitchen where one of our customers, Jonathan Sawyer from the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland happens to be. Hugs and high fives for everyone!
Now Jen opens the box and fillets the fish. Lots of oohs and aahs. We hope this gets into Food and Wine somehow!
11 AM: Jonathan races to catch a cab downtown to drop off Open tickets at Food Arts. Executive Editor Beverly Stephen and Jim Jombreau are joining us for lunch at the Open and to catch some tennis.
1 PM: we arrive at the Open in time to get to Aces where Iron Chef Morimoto has created a Skuna Bay Craft Raised Charred Salmon. Meeting us is Beverly and Jim from Food Arts, Joe our distributor partner from Gotham plus our friends from James Beard House, Yvon and Julie who are joining us. We talk about the James Beard Awards. We talk about a special Skuna Bay Salmon night at the House in December. We dine. And enjoy the salmon the only way one can when you are at the Open dining on your own salmon.
2 PM: in our seats. Wow - pretty nice. 10 rows up, center court. More hugs and high fives. We watch a great match with Azarenka downing Sharapova to go to the finals.
5 PM: we watch Serena dismantle her opponent in straight sets. Ed Brown, legendary chef from Ed's Chowderhouse and Restaurant Associates joins us (he was at our farms 3 weeks ago, now we are on his turf!). The day ends. Time to go home.
Saturday, Sept. 8: We get up early (not too early) and head down to the Meatpacking District. We go by Catch to see one of our best customers in NY (Chef Hung, first Top Chef winner) but they weren't open. We go to Dos Caminos, another good customer (BR Guest) for some tacos and margaritas.
Cab around Manhattan looking for potential spaces for Skuna Bay Salmon's first store front. We get excited about the possibilities.
3 PM: Back to the hotel before the Women's Final. Switch on the TV to catch the men's semis and hear that the tennis is being postponed - a tornado touches down in Queen's! No tennis for us today. Instead we scramble to make reservations for dinner. Aureole (another great Skuna Bay customer, Charlie Palmer's) it is!
8 PM: Aureole with our nutritionist Wendy Bazilian and her husband Jason and customers. They were at our farms 3 weeks ago so nice to catch up again. Last time we were in NYC they were there also so we ate at the James Beard House together. Lots of good meals with our nutritionist!
9 PM: Chef Alain from Azure and Promenade makes a surprise entrance with his girlfriend to join us. We enjoy some hearing about Chef's experience with Skuna Bay Salmon and plan tomorrow's trip to the Open.
11 PM: Dinner ends, we meet up with Lynn Ryan from CIA and her friends at Momofuku. Sarah, founder of City Grit is there and we have a great conversation. What a story! Sarah was working in the retail business when she was discovered by Food and Wine magazine and now look at her running the hottest and most innovative culinary business in America. We tell her she is the food version of Kelly Clarkson. Then we head home.
Sunday, Sept. 9:
This time there will be tennis! We arrive at the Open in time to walk around and poke into Champions Bar and Grill where Chef David Burke has created his own Skuna Bay Craft Raised Cedar Plank Salmon. What a treat. Then down to the US Open Club where Skuna Bay is also being served Cedar Plank style. We are officially thrilled.
4 PM: We sit down in our seats to see Andre Agassi being inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame. Introduced by Andy Roddick. Very cool. Chef Alain joins us for the tennis.
4:30 (ish) PM: God Bless America is sung, finishing with a flyover by a squadron of F16s. Chills down everyone's spine. The women's final begins. Serena looks unbeatable.
5 (ish) PM: Serena wins set one.
6 (ish) PM: Azarenka wins set two!
7 (ish) PM: Serena wins the big comeback, down 2 games and match point she grinds back to win it all. What a finish! We head home.
Monday, Sept. 10: 10 AM: we meet at Conde Nast building for our 10 am meeting with Chris Morocco and Janet McCracken in the Bon Appetit test kitchen. Joining us is another great chef, Top Chef Angelo Sosa who we met in Denver at our Colorado launch. Up we go.... Jonathan waits in the lobby to make sure the fish gets upstairs. The fish arrives without knowing it. We start our presentation and Jonathan phones Dave's phone 24 times in 2 minutes freaking out not knowing where the fish is. Dave turns off his phone.
10:15-11:00 AM: we meet Chris, Janet and the test kitchen gang in Bon Appetit's kitchen. The fish, because we refuse to fly it and through an administrative snafu is 7 days old. We never have 7 day old fish. Yikes. Nervous. We open the box. Fish looks amazing. Bright red gills, perfect, fresh. Like it just came out of the water. The fish and the system is amazing. Angelo is excited. Fillets the fish and we all enjoy Skuna Bay sashimi.
We head home. Dave races to the airport. Jonathan heads to Philly. We leave 14,700 Skuna Salmon portions served over 2 weeks behind.