OKO Restaurant Serves Up CT Grown Sugar Kelp

OKO seaweed salad using Stonington Kelp Co. sugar kelp.

Obviously, with a blog name like Local Food Rocks, we’re all about supporting locally-grown and locally-made things. Well, did you know that there is Connecticut-grown sugar kelp? Yeah, it’s a thing and Chef Brian Lewis is serving it at his restaurant OKO in Westport!

Talk about a unique thing. Chef Brian Lewis has partnered with Suzie and Jay Flores, owners of Stonington Kelp Co., to bring their Connecticut-grown sugar kelp to the table. OKO is the only restaurant in Connecticut serving their product.

Cultivated using organic farming practices in the Fisher’s Island Sound off the shores of Stonington, CT, the kelp grown uses zero inputs while being farmed (no fresh water, no fertilizer or pesticides) and helps absorb chemicals that are damaging our local waters. Suzie and Jay partnered with Greenwave, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the next generation of ocean farmers, and participated in the organization’s ocean farmer training program to learn “3D ocean farming,” a farming system that utilizes the entire water column to grow a mixture of seaweed and shellfish that require zero inputs while providing important ecosystem services. While Stonington Kelp Co.’s product will be integrated into several dishes at OKO, it is the star ingredient of a new signature OKO Seaweed Salad, featuring this Stonington Sugar Kelp, Umeboshi and Miyoga, which recently launched at the restaurant.

OKO is Chef Lewis’ heartfelt interpretation of Japanese ingredients, cooking methods, and cuisine, paired with seasonal, local ingredients from New York, Connecticut, the United States and the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. With its first location in the historic Vigilant Hose Company Firehouse in Downtown Westport, CT (6 Wilton Road), OKO is opening its second location in the heart of Rye, NY in 2019 (29 Purchase Street).

For more information, including hours and reservations, visit www.okokitchen.com.

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