Filling Plates with Underutilized Fish
~Spotlight with Eastern Connecticut State University, Executive Chef, Conor Dodd~
By: Marketing Manager Intern, UMass Dartmouth Kendall, Michaella Lesieur
Executive Chef Conor Dodd is no newbie to the kitchen. He has been crafting delicious meals with the Chartwells dining service family for nearly ten years. He currently works at Eastern Connecticut State University and has been working to implement underutilized species into students dining experiences.
A lot inspires Chef Dodd when he is in the kitchen, but his best work is when he can see the reactions of others. “People’s reactions after I make them a meal, if its positive it motivates me to continue my career,” said Dodd. “If it's negative it inspires me to change to become a better chef.”
Dining services has been serving up many dishes featuring underutilized species. Some dishes include “Monk chowder-traditional New England Clam Chowder but with hearty chunks of monkfish and cioppino with haddock, which is a spin on traditional cioppino. You make a nice sauce with mussels, clams, shrimp, bay scallops and ladle it over seared haddock,” said Dodd.
These dishes also have great sides to pair Dodd recommends rice and braised greens for the cioppino and a nice crusty bread to dip into the monk chowder.
Students have been very eager to learn about Kendall’s mission and have enjoyed the dishes that have been featured. “The students have been positive and they seem interested,” said Dodd. “Some students I have spoken to think it’s great what we are doing, it's another way to push local flavors and ingredients.”
Eastern Connecticut State is already seeing an impact. “I have seen an impact, usually we only served fish once or twice a week. Now that we are serving it 3-5 times a week it gives a little more healthy variety to our menu,” said Dodd proudly. “Students like the fact that the fish is caught right here in New England. Some enjoy the fact that they are learning something new and expanding their pallets.”
Dodd loves being a part of such a wonderful project and is looking forward to seeing how it continues both inside and outside of the kitchen. “To be part of a project like this is incredible. I am learning a lot and I get to pass it on to others,” said Dodd. The special events we do to educate my peers are a lot of fun.”