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KETCHIKAN - East Coast restaurant chain Legal Sea Foods is launching a campaign to extol the benefits of Alaska wild salmon.
The initiative should more than double Legal Sea Foods' consumption of fresh Alaska salmon and reduce its use of farmed salmon, the company said.
Legal Sea Foods' Executive Chef Richard Vellante has created dishes such as "Alaska wild salmon salad with grainy mustard-caper dressing and honey-roasted onions" and "cedar planked Alaska wild salmon with grilled vegetables and lemon-line dressing."
The goal is to get people used to eating wild salmon, said Legal Sea Foods President Roger Berkowitz. The company will differentiate between wild and farmed salmon and promote Alaska wild salmon as its "salmon of choice."
"The push is to feature it more and wean people off the farmed product," Berkowitz said. "Alaska salmon is a sustainable fishery and it behooves us in the fish and restaurant business to take full advantage of it."
The campaign is launched with the help of NorQuest Seafoods, Alaska Airlines and the state of Alaska. It includes new recipes featuring Alaska salmon and a television commercial filmed in Ketchikan.
The effort was aided by a $350,000 matching grant for seafood marketing from the State of Alaska.
NorQuest President Terry Gardiner said Legal Sea Foods is a leader in the food and dining industry and understands fishing issues.
"They're the perfect people to help promote wild salmon," he said. "They're the kind of company other companies will follow when they see them doing something successful."
As part of the state grant requirements, the companies are working on new uses for chum and pink salmon.
The campaign will extend beyond NorQuest, Gardiner said. "They will be buying from companies all over Alaska," he said. "This will have benefits to many salmon fishermen and processors around the state."
The advertising campaign will start in Washington, D.C., next month on television and radio and in print. It will be followed by campaigns in Boston, New York and southern Florida.
Legal Sea Foods, in cooperation with Alaska Airlines, will offer a contest though which customers can win a free trip to Alaska.
Legal Seafoods operates 30 restaurants around Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and southern Florida.