By Rebecca Gardon
SAN DIEGO, Calif., Dec. 29, 2016 — Catalina Offshore Products will ring in 2017 by toasting to 40 years in the seafood business. The wholesale distributor and retailer will mark the impressive milestone with festivities throughout the year and by giving back to the San Diego community through a partnership with Kitchens for Good, a nonprofit that aims to break the cycles of food waste, poverty and hunger through workforce training and other programs.
Family-owned and operated since 1977, Catalina Offshore Products is still overseen by founder Dave Rudie. The company began exclusively as a sea urchin wholesaler when Rudie, who spent his days diving off Catalina Island, discovered a market for the edible treasure within urchins known as uni. Over the last four decades the San Diego-based business has built a tradition of excellence in providing its customers with high quality and sushi grade seafood.
Today Catalina Offshore Products is one of the largest buyers of local seafood in San Diego, specializing in wild species found off the West Coast, from Baja California to the Pacific Northwest. It encompasses a wholesale division, online store and walk-in fish market, and counts some of the nation’s top chefs and restaurants among its customers. As a result of its commitment to sourcing from responsible fisheries, nearly 75 percent of the seafood it sells is sustainable.
Commitment to giving back is also at the forefront of Catalina Offshore Products’ mission, which is why it has pledged that for every 40 pounds of seafood sold through its fish market during the first 40 days of the year, it will donate one pound of fish to hunger relief programs through Kitchens for Good.
Kitchens for Good bridges the gap between wasted food and hunger by rescuing and purchasing surplus food from wholesalers and farmers. Through its innovative culinary job training curriculum, students previously perceived as unemployable transform these ingredients into nutritious meals and products for hungry families. Students may be youth who have aged out of foster care, veterans, survivors of domestic violence, ex-cons or recovering addicts. Each week they practice their culinary skills by preparing 1,500 meals for seniors and children suffering from hunger across San Diego county. Graduates of the program receive culinary certification, and internship and job placement services.
Catalina Offshore Products estimates that by the end of its 40-day goal, it will be able to provide Kitchens for Good with more than 1,000 servings of fish for meals for the hungry.
“We greatly appreciate the support of the community that has helped us prosper over the past 40 years,” said Rudie. “We are fortunate to have access to incredible local seafood and donating our surplus to Kitchens for Good not only enables us to help people in need, it saves a viable resource from going to waste while helping to educate a future workforce.”
Since engaging with Kitchens for Good in early 2016, Catalina Offshore Products has hired six graduates from the program, either as interns or employees. Its work with the nonprofit is just one of the ways the seafood supplier partners with its community. In addition to regularly donating seafood and time to numerous local organizations and charitable events, it hosts Collaboration Kitchen – a volunteer-run dinner series that raises money for other nonprofits. Conceptualized six years ago by the company’s fishmonger, Tommy Gomes, its mission is based in educating consumers about seafood, promoting local chefs, and having fun, all while supporting a good cause.
“The best part about our company is that we’re still a mom-and-pop operation,” said Gomes. “From our employees and local fishermen we work with, to the chefs and customers who trust us for their seafood, we have managed to create a community that feels more like a family. To be here after 40 years, we must be doing something right.”
For more information on Catalina Offshore Products, call 619-297-9797 or visit catalinaop.com.
About Catalina Offshore Products
Founded in 1977, Catalina Offshore Products was once exclusively a sea urchin/uni wholesaler in both domestic sales and exports to Asia. Today Catalina Offshore Products is one of the largest buyers of local seafood in San Diego, specializing in wild species found off the West Coast, from Baja California to the Pacific Northwest. It encompasses a wholesale division, online store and walk-in fish market. Nearly 75 percent of the seafood Catalina Offshore Products sells is sustainable and much of it is sushi grade. For more information, visit catalinaop.com.
Catalina Offshore Products