"One fish, two fish, three fish, blue fish..."
Q: Hello Chef, why don't you start by telling me a bit about yourself and how you end up in the restaurant industry? Did you perhaps grow up cooking with a food loving family?
Armand Toutaint: Hi Finance Foodie. Well I didn't really grow up with a family of cooks, in fact, I was a bit of a hellion as a child. A friend of my mother's owned a small coffee shop and bakery in Laconia [New Hampshire] and needed a dishwasher on the weekend. It was a way to keep me out of trouble so I started doing that when I was 10 and here I am now.
Q: So are you self-taught then?
AT: Yes, never went to culinary school. Learned a lot from the people I've worked with over the years.
Q: So what prompted the move to Boston?
AT: I love NH, and don't want to say anything bad about it, but you really can't make any money up there. The work is very seasonal - you're busy in the summer and then in the winter is dead. But I still visit NH often, it's only a two hour drive and most of my family is back there.
Q: Why don't you talk a bit about what we are having tonight.
AT: Sure, for our appetizer we have grilled island creek oysters on a bed of coarse sea salt. The oyster are topped with mitake mushrooms and the riesling cream sauce is served on the side.
[Ed Note: Although I thought the oyster were slightly salty, I really enjoyed the nice hearty bite from the mitake mushrooms. Note, the riesling cream sauce is usually served on top the oysters, but I requested it to be put on the side.]
For the entree, which one of my favorite new menu items, we have a seared ahi tuna, cooked medium rare, crusted with orange sesame seeds. This is served on a bed of edamame and corn, and the dish is glazed with a ponzu sauce. Just a reminder that we only use sustainable seafood from eco-friendly sources.
[Ed Note: I adored the tuna, for it tasted like it was fresh from the pond. The ponzu sauce gave the dish a nice citrus-y sweetness that was refreshing, not cloying. The edamame and corn salad was a bit disappointing, I liked the edamame, but felt the what looked like canned corn slightly cheapened the $34 dish]
Q: Tell me more about Turner's commitment to sustainable seafood.
AT: Well when we first started using sustainable local seafood, it was a way to differentiate ourselves from the other seafood places in Boston. I didn't know too much about it at first, but when I started researching it, I found it to be very important that we support sustainable fishing practices that avoid over-fishing and environmentally destructive methods. Our main supplier is Louie Seafood outside Gloucester, MA.
Q: What is an ingredient that you cannot live (or cook) without?
AT: Butter. It's a staple but that's the one people forget about the most often, oddly enough
Q: Favorite thing about Boston? Doesn't have to be food related - you can say the Red Sox!
AT: Well, I'm not really a huge sports fan, but I would say that I like Boston because it has a small town feel but a big city feel at the same time.
Q:So if you don't follow the Red Sox, what do you do in your freetime?
AT: During the summer, I like to motorcycle and golf. Growing up in Laconia, we had a huge motorcycle rally each year so I pretty much grew up on a motorcycle. During the winter, I like to ski, snowboard, and ice fish.
Q: Are you in a motorcycle...gang? group? whatever you call the packs that ride around together?
Q: Cool. Thanks so much for your time chef!
Turner Fisheries10 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116