Dining Services serves up a fresh catch

University sources fresh, local fish for on campus meals

Pictured: Baja Fish Tacos from Mainfare Dining hall. PHOTO CREDIT: Maddie Bataille | Photo Editor

The University of Rhode Island Dining Services announced on Jan. 20 that they will start serving locally sourced seafood in the dining halls on campus on Feb. 1. 

Pierre St. Germain, the director for Dining and Conference Services said there was a slow start to getting “back to normal” with URI Dining after the Pandemic. Issues in the supply chain and being short staffed have “plagued a lot of the food service,” but Dining Services is trying to continue pleasing the student body with sustainable practices. 

According to St. Germain, URI gets some of their local seafood from Tony’s Colonial Seafood located in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

“They work with New Bedford and Point Judith fishermen to get a lot of the products,” St. Germain said. “We specifically work with them because they’re really good about using local fishermen as opposed to test sourcing from further down the eastern seaboard.” 

Seafood is also sourced from the Narragansett Lobster Company in Narragansett, Rhode Island, who has convenient locations closer to Kingston. Dining Services wants to help support the local economy and give back to the community as often as they can, according to St. Germain. 

Dining is also trying to mainly use local species that are native to Rhode Island and the northeastern coast, according to Aaron Fitzsenry, the chef manager for dining. Some species include local clams, haddock, flounder, pollock and cod. The only species served that is not local to this area is salmon, according to Fitzsenry. 

Fitzsenry said he is choses meals that are “range efficient,” which means he tries to have a range of seafood that can be served in the same dish. 

“It’s about the dish not the fish” for Fitzsenry because he is able to create the same concept of a meal with whatever type of shipment they receive. Dining Services has to be flexible with orders and shipments because of the enormous student body they are planning to feed.

 “It’s usually about 200 pounds per order,” Fitzsenry said. “Sometimes twice per week, sometimes every other week, depending on how the menu cycle flows.” 

For this upcoming week, shipments of chopped clams and 125 pounds of cod are expected to arrive for Dining Services to use. Another week this month, they are expected to have shipments of 150 pounds of haddock and an additional 125 pounds of cod. 

“Plans don’t always go according to plan,” Fitzsenry said. “We remain flexible knowing that the application for the fish is going to be okay for a couple of different species that we might get.” 

Fitzsenry mentioned how there have been challenges to overcome with this new effort. He said how there are requirements Dining Services has to go through in order to purchase from a local business, as well as the size of their order can be somewhat difficult to fulfill. However, St. Germain said that whenever they can, Dining Services tries to fund the local community of RI, in order to support the coastal region.