The White House announced Wednesday it has shipped about 2,000 pounds of shrimp and crabs from the Gulf to serve at this year’s holiday parties, a big gesture aimed at boosting consumer confidence in regional seafood in the wake of the devastating BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“Since day one, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been working with other Federal agencies and state officials to closely monitor seafood in the Gulf and ensure that the seafood that makes it to your grocery store or restaurant is safe to eat,” wrote White House executive chef Chris Comerford on the White House blog Wedneday.
“I’m excited to use the power of food once again to honor not only the Gulf, but some very special guests,” continued Comerford. “Tonight, the White House is hosting a holiday reception for the volunteers who worked so hard over the Thanksgiving break to put up our beautiful decorations. And at this event, we’ll be serving our guests a seafood bar highlighting Gulf shrimp and Florida stone crabs.”
“All together, we’ve shipped in about 2,000 lbs of shrimp and crabs from the Gulf for our 2010 holiday parties,” said Comerford, who listed a bevy of dishes that will feature Gulf seafood, including: Seafood Gumbo, with Andouille, Gulf Shrimp from Venice, LA, Bayou La Batre, Alabama Lump Crab, Oyster Po-Boy with Fresh Alabama Gulf Oysters, Housemade Tartar, French Bread, Cajun Fries, Stacked Eggplant with Shrimp and Lump Crab Cream Sauce, with Garden Eggplant, Angel Hair Pasta, Gulf Shrimp from Venice, LA and Bayou La Batre, Alabama Lump Crab BBQ Shrimp, with Traditional New Orleans Family Recipe with Gulf Shrimp from Venice, LA and Crusty French Bread
Also on the menu: Speckled Trout with Speckled Trout from Gulfport, Mississippi, Brown Butter Sauce, Red Smashed Potatoes, and Snap Peas with Candied Pecans.
The decision to serve, and promote, Gulf seafood follows a long series of high level PR events aimed at boosting consumer confidence on seafood coming from the oil-rocked region.
Over the past several months, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, and Chef Comerford all took part in press events to boost the image of Gulf seafood to assure consumers the products would be closely monitored and oiled seafood would not make it to market.
In September, Comerford and Hamburg traveled to the Gulf to talk seafood safety. In August, the First Family vacationed in the Gulf and dined on local seafood to help promote both tourism and seafood. The White House also hosted reigning Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, to honor their win and tout the safety and deliciousness of Gulf seafood.