While ocean farmers from all walks of life work to replicate restorative ocean farms and increase the supply seaweed and shellfish, market innovators like Chef Brian Lewis are scaling the demand for these crops in science, technology, food, bioplastics, and more. Brian is a nationally recognized chef known for his commitment to consciously sourced, seasonally driven cuisine. Brian credits his success as a chef to growers who produce the high-quality ingredients he uses in his restaurants. After opening his Japanese-inspired restaurant OKO in Westport, Connecticut in 2018, Brian turned to GreenWave to learn about opportunities to locally source restorative ocean crops, like seaweed, for his restaurant.
After 30 years in the restaurant business, it’s rare for Brian to come across new and exciting ingredients. Brian connected with Connecticut ocean farmer Suzie Flores of Stonington Kelp Co. and found local sugar kelp to be a refreshing culinary opportunity. Even after procuring hundreds of pounds of kelp from Stonington Kelp Co., Brian was eager to get his hands on more to fully explore the creative possibilities of the species.
So far, Brian has used sugar kelp in its basic form as a fresh vegetable, substituting kelp for kale in recipes and incorporating it into sauces like salsa verde. Now he’s imagining new ways to push kelp’s limits while celebrating local ocean farmers and ingredients. Though Brian’s experimentation is rooted in age-old Japanese techniques and traditions, he anticipates that incorporating the local merroir will continue to influence the evolution of his restaurant’s unique flavor profile.
Excited about his new partnership with Stonington Kelp Co., Brian is looking forward to being more hands-on during the upcoming farm season. He hopes to deepen his understanding of kelp and restorative ocean farming processes, with the goal of further fueling his creativity in the kitchen.
Brian’s experience working with GreenWave and Stonington Kelp Co. drove his belief in the urgency in expanding agriculture out to sea and the potential for local kelp to drive culinary innovation. He intends to integrate more seaweed and shellfish into his menu and create dishes that reflect the entire 3D ocean farming system. Through creative representations of ocean farming on the plate, Brian hopes to educate restaurant patrons and inspire more chefs to join him in creating a new climate cuisine.
At GreenWave, we can’t wait to see how Chef Brian uses 3D ocean farmed ingredients to support this growing industry.