We met Marsh during the same trip we found each other. He brought amazing fish from Sitka to the Fingers Lakes, impressed us with his incredible aptitude for push-ups and made us melt when he picked us flowers on a foraging hike. We talked about The Proposal and, subsequently, the difference between lobster boats and salmon boats. Marsh is incredibly passionate about what he does. He spends his time off his boat, the F/V Loon working on his community supported fishery start-up, Sitka Salmon Shares. We love being spoiled with perfect seafood and spending our time laughing with Marsh in Alaska or the Midwest. We hope you find him as endearing as we do!
From breakfast bites to midnight snack, what is your ideal food day?
I love to start with a good egg sandwich — runny yolks, avocado, aged cheese, and sprouts are all integral components. Once I’m full, my ideal food day would involve gathering what seasonal, wild foods are available. In Alaska, the selection at the grocery store is often less than inspiring, but we have pristine oceans and forests full of amazing things to eat. After gathering something delicious, cooking collaboratively with food friends is what makes me truly happy.
What’s the story behind being a commercial fisherman? How did it all start?
I spent my summers in rural Alaska commercial fishing with my family. After a few rudderless years cooking and doing social work, I decided to buy my own boat and give a go of it as a fisherman.
How do you enjoy wine and food while also being healthy and fit?
As a fisherman you rely on your body more intensely than most careers. Any small injury really limits what you can do and how ultimately successful you are. That being said, my love of rich food and well-crafted wine is well-documented; I gave myself gout before I turned 30. Now, I try to drink more water and to stay in shape during my time away from the fishing grounds. I think my competitive nature also helps keep me fit; I hate being the wimpiest hiker or the one who can’t keep up on the field. My sister is currently living with me and food-shames me. She throws away anything GMO or with corn syrup in it.
Five things you are dying to eat right now…
Fresh salmon roe, artisanal lox, soft ripened cheese, summer stone fruit and wild mushrooms.
What are your daily regimens?
Coffee and wasting time on Instagram. I hate the early wake-ups while fishing, but it is a beautiful and peaceful time to be on the ocean.
What’s your idea of the perfect first date?
Cooking together, nailing every dish, with perfect wine pairings. We would end up fooling around while doing the dishes.
Advice you’d give your younger self…
Don’t procrastinate! Understand that you really don’t know anything.
Five goals you want to fulfill this year…
Grow my business, see more friends, catch enough salmon to travel this winter, give my boat some love, stay active and fit.
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
Anti-wrinkle cream, drinking lots of water, and taking the time to understand other peoples’ point of view.
What’s your first food memory?
My parents having dinner parties and cooking up lightly breaded halibut. They cooked simple food; before I knew much about cooking I enjoyed sharing meals with friends and family.
Everyone has a go-to dish. What’s yours?
I’ve been winning people over with grilled halibut cheeks and romesco sauce.
When was your last hangover? What are your cures?
The last time I was hungover I had to get up early and move gear. It was miserable, but after sweating it out I felt better. My go to hangover cure is definitely eating a croissant, espresso, and another croissant.
The strangest thing in your fridge right now?
Salmon that I didn’t catch myself.
Death-row last meal?
One with as many courses as possible to prolong my life. Maybe they could send me to Magnus Nilsson’s Fäviken?
Favorite midnight snack?
Nachos — don’t forget the rule of nachos: there is never enough cheese.