Food for a Cause

Seattle Chefs Are Slinging Shellfish to Benefit Little Skookum Inlet

Some of the city's biggest names are dishing up clams and oysters to save the salmon habitat.

By Courtney Cummings October 1, 2019

Seafood dishes are popping up around the city to benefit the inlet.

Image: Matt Mornick

October has arrived, and with it a (literally) appetizing cause: Fifteen star chefs will offer up seafood dishes at their respective restaurants during the first two weeks of October to benefit orcas—and salmon, too. With a focus on oysters and clams (no salmon here, of course!), these specials will raise money to help save a Washington inlet home to young salmon, aka vital orca food.

As fish populations decrease in Washington waters, so too do our our beloved black-and-white whales. But with the help of 28 mighty Seattle restaurants, Forterra—a Washington-based conservation group—hopes to purchase and protect land near Little Skookum Inlet, an area critical to the health of both our salmon and orca populations.

If you’re curious just how much Seattle should chow down, think large. The fundraiser goal clocks in at $686,000, enough to save 816 acres of wetland, forests, and marine shoreline that are vital to preserving Little Skookum Inlet's clean water—home to river otters, crustaceans, and young Chinook salmon.

The roster of chefs is massive and impressive: Eric Donnelly (RockCreek), Logan Cox (Homer), Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi (Joule), Matt Dillon (of the not-long-for-this-world Sitka and Spruce), Mitch Mayers (Sawyer), Ethan Stowell, and so many more. Proceeds from each chef's dish, which will use clams or oysters, will go straight to the cause. Taylor Shellfish Farms, JJ Brenner Oyster Co., and Little Skookum Shellfish Growers will supply the shellfish for the participating restaurants.

To little surprise, a scarcity of salmon is, obviously, really bad. Orcas are out here straight-up starving, which can lead to dire issues from early deaths to miscarriages to high calf mortality rates. Just last year, Seattle grieved alongside the orca mother who carried her dead calf for two and a half weeks straight.

It’s a heavy subject, we know, but an important one nonetheless. So eat your heart out, because a verifiable seafood fest is perhaps the best way to save the whales, right? Right.

Little Skookum Inlet Fundraiser
October 1–13, Various locations, A la carte

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