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Dec 22, 2015 9:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Gourmet Fishburgers Coming To The Bridgehampton School For Lunch

Dec 22, 2015 3:23 PM

Students at the Bridgehampton School will soon be in for a gourmet treat.That’s because Dock to Dish, a Montauk-based company and the first restaurant-supported fishery program in the country, will provide “fishburgers” once a month to the entire Bridgehampton School, beginning in January—for free.

The program, dubbed “Dock to Dish to Bridgehampton School,” is an effort to make nutritional seafood available to local students, with the Bridgehampton School being the pilot school.

“The recipe has been meticulously worked on,” said Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, who is the school’s environmental design teacher. She also is the chair of Slow Food East End, an organization that teaches the importance of eating local food, and the founder of the Edible School Garden Project at Bridgehampton.

Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz has played a large role in bringing the program to the school because of her involvement in these organizations, and she is also spearheading the school’s implementation of the career and technical education program.

“He wants to have people understand our maritime heritage and talk to kids about fisheries,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said of Dock to Dish’s founder, Sean Barrett.

On Monday, Mr. Barrett said that he has always wanted to bring wholesome and nutritious food to local students, as Dock to Dish is specifically meant to ensure that locals always have access to fresh fish.

But it took a few years to find a kid-friendly and tasty fish burger recipe, he said. After tasting one by the award-winning French chef Eric Ripert, it was obvious that his was the winner, Mr. Barrett said.

Mr. Ripert’s recipe is considered only a blueprint, as there will be different versions of the fish burger that will change from month to month, depending on the type of fish that is caught. Some weeks it could be black sea bass, while other times it might be fluke, Mr. Barrett said. Right now, the burger will be made with a combination of skate and tuna.

The burger will provide students at the Bridgehampton School with a nutritious lunch, especially because almost 60 percent of them participate in the free and reduced-price lunch program. “That is huge,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said of the percentage. “Kids are struggling with major issues that are diet-related. I really think it’s important that these kinds of programs roll out in public schools.”

Three local chefs who all happen to be founding members of Dock to Dish—Jason Weiner from Almond Restaurant in Bridgehampton, Joe Realmuto from Nick and Toni’s in East Hampton, and Sam McLeland from Bell & Anchor in Noyac—also have contributed their own additions to the burger, such as sauces and garnishes to complement it and make each burger unique.

Mr. Weiner will soon demonstrate to the food service workers at the school how to prepare the fish burger, which will come frozen to ensure that the quality is locked in, he said.

The program will even boast its own days, called “Fishburger Fridays,” when one of the chefs will talk to the students and provide them with the educational aspect of the project—why it is important to eat local, sustainable food and to know where food comes from.

The fishburger project will not cost Dock to Dish that much, Mr. Barrett said, adding that, frankly, the cost is worth it.

“Jason and I were working on the burger and realized it is perfect, and winter season is our off season and a good time to launch the program,” he explained.

Local fishermen at the Montauk dock are also eager to get their fish into the schools, especially because the students are local, Mr. Barrett said.

Ultimately, Mr. Barrett hopes to expand the program to schools across Long Island. “That’s the dream, and that’s what Judiann and I have been talking about and working on,” he said. “The key is to unlock the door to get really local fresh seafood into our school.”

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