Sunday, March 25, 2007

Monterey Pebble Beach Shrimp Tour

In anticipation of the new pack Tiger Shrimp season which begins in May and runs though July, Peninsula Foodnews traveled with Zeljka Boyd of Contessa Premium Foods, David Brinker of Foodsales West Partners and broker for Contessa Products, and Mike Salas of Empress International as they made their way through some of the Central Coasts most Prestigious Hotels.

Executive Chef Rod Uncango of The Inn at Spanish Bay discusses intricacies of tiger shrimp at a comparison cutting.

Contessa Shrimp was first compared against the Pacific Gold label product at several locations. The Contessa Brand was a better known product and did extremely well versus Pac Gold based on color, texture, and flavor.

Chef Benjamin Brown of the Beach and Tennis Club at Pebble Beach brought up some concerns about Contessa as the shrimp is farm raised in Vietnam. Specifically he was brought up news reports about dioxins in seafood from Vietnam that were the result of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam war.

Zeljka subsequently provided results of 3rd party testing done in 2004, and 2005 that found no detectable results for Agent Orange or Dioxin.

Next Mike Salas from Empress International brought out their flagship Xcellent Brand and the Harbor Banks Brand to compare with the Pacific Gold Brand.

Certain Specifications were called for during this comparison. We were to compare raw, peeled and devained tiger shrimp in a 13/15, 16/20, and 21/25 per pound count.

Mike Salas explains country of origin differences during tiger shrimp comparison

Although the Chefs’ were under the impression that the Pacific Gold product contained no Tripolyphosphate, it became apparent when thawing under running water that there was. Two key indicators were the level of foaming that occurred as the shrimp was washed, and the heavily bleached appearance of the shrimp after thawing.

Bruce Raymond and Rommel Esteybar count shrimp in the Spanish Bay Butcher Shop

Xcellent brand and Harbor banks had traceability back to to the harvester with respect to water conditions and feed where the Pac Gold did not.

Xcellent and Harbor banks had excellent coloring, both graded #1 quality product where the Pac Gold was not graded on the bag or on the case.

Xcellent and Harbor Banks had drained weight per pound count sizes that averaged on the larger size shrimp meaning better plate coverage keeping plate costs down. All three brands had good uniform size per case.

Curious How Your Shrimp Measures Up? please call Brian Isaeff, at 831.601.6398

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