CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. sold a lot of Alaska wild salmon at its flagship store on Alaska Salmon Day with a chef's demo that drew crowds of customers to the seafood department.
Borrowed for the afternoon from Cincinnati's Palamino Restaurant, executive chef Andre Leger turned out grilled Alaska salmon with sun-dried tomato and thyme butter on a bed of mixed greens with gorgonzola, and plates of smoked Alaska salmon enrobed in rosemary butter, served with braised lentils and warm tomato salad. He did that for two hours, and customers lined up the whole time to wait for a taste.
The effort, orchestrated by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Juneau, marked June 30 as the first official Alaska Salmon Day as proclaimed by Alaska Governor Tony Knowles, earlier this summer. Knowles said at the time that "wild salmon embodies the economy, history, culture and spirit of Alaska" and suggested the best way to celebrate that fact is to "to enjoy a mouthful of wild salmon."
That's exactly what Kroger's customers did. They accepted a taste, and then most went directly to the seafood counter and bought some to take home. Fresh Alaska Silverbrite salmon steaks, fillets, kabobs and whole fish were offered at special prices.
"I saw a surprising number of people getting the whole fish wrapped up," said Melissa DiSalle, ASMI's Northeast/Midwest representative.
The chef set up his cooking station in front of the seafood service counter so customers could see the displays behind him. Overhead was a banner that read, "Alaska Salmon Day, June 30."
"It was more than a demo. This was a presentation of gourmet food. He did a full, restaurant-type meal. It looked great. When he ran out of salmon he'd grilled, people waited until some more was ready," DiSalle said.
A local radio station did a remote broadcast from the seafood department and created excitement playing oldies. Earlier in the week, spot announcements on radio alerted people that the demo would take place "on June 30, Alaska Salmon Day, at Kroger's Hyde Park Store."