SEATTLE, May 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Alaska Air Cargo delivered the season's first shipment of Copper River salmon today to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The arrival of Copper River salmon marks the start of the summer salmon season and is anticipated by seafood lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
The Alaska Airlines plane arrived early this morning with Copper River king and sockeye salmon from three seafood processors: Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Trident Seafoods and Copper River Seafoods. At least three more Alaska Airlines flights today will transport salmon from Cordova, Alaska, to Anchorage, Alaska, Seattle and across the United States.
Alaska Airlines plays a significant role in supporting the Alaska seafood industry, which is recognized worldwide for its sustainable fishing practices. The carrier flew nearly 25 million pounds of fresh Alaska seafood to the Lower 48 states and beyond last year, including nearly 1.8 million pounds of Copper River salmon.
"We're proud to be the first to bring wild and sustainable Copper River salmon to seafood lovers across the country, in many cases within 24 hours after the fish is caught," said Torque Zubeck, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. "With enhanced food quality procedures and additional flights to support the Alaska seafood industry, we are going the extra mile to deliver seafood that's as fresh as possible."
Copper Chef Cook-off
Following the arrival of the first fish, three top Seattle chefs will compete to create the best salmon recipe in Alaska Air Cargo's "Copper Chef Cook-off." Pat Donahue, executive chef of Anthony's Restaurants and the 2010 and 2011 Copper Chef winner, will compete against executive chefs Jason Wilson of CRUSH and Wayne A. Johnson of Ray's Boathouse. The chefs will have 30 minutes to prepare and serve the first catch of the season to a panel of judges, including Jay Buhner, Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer; Joanne Dunham, co-owner of Dunham Cellars; Gary Horner, senior winemaker at Erath Winery; and Bill Ayer, chairman of Alaska Air Group.
To showcase the versatility of Copper River salmon, two Northwest wines, an Oregon pinot noir from Erath and a Washington chardonnay from Dunham Cellars, have been selected to pair with the salmon in this year's cook-off. The wines were selected for their flavor-enhancing profiles that blend well with salmon and break the old adage that fish only pairs with white wine.
The airline will use its Twitter account, @AlaskaAir, to announce the winning Copper River salmon recipe. The three recipes that will be prepared for the Copper Chef Cook-off are available to download at http://bit.ly/JNOHmK .
Enhanced seafood quality training program
Copper River salmon shipped on Alaska Air Cargo this season will arrive as fresh as possible to grocery stores and restaurants across the nation, thanks in part to a cool chain training program required of all airline employees who handle perishables. Alaska Air Cargo employees are required to adhere to strict seafood quality standards and pass an annual food quality course.
Seafood processors and shippers follow these cool-chain standards to provide a temperature-controlled environment for proper food handling. The goal is to keep seafood moving rapidly throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time it leaves the water to when it arrives at stores and restaurants.
Note to media: High-resolution photographs of the season's first Copper River salmon and Alaska Air Cargo's "Copper Chef Cook-off" will be posted in the airline's online newsroom image gallery at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom by noon Pacific time, May 18, 2012.
Together with sister carrier Horizon Air, Alaska Airlines transports more than 115 million pounds of cargo annually, including seafood, mail and freight, and operates the most extensive air cargo operation on the U.S. West Coast of any passenger airline.
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.
SOURCE Alaska Airlines