Fresh Foodie Laurie-Beth Robbins



Laurie-Beth Robbins of Rye is a private chef in a niche genre of “gourmet, healthful, exotic cuisine.” “Exotic” includes ostrich, elk, kangaroo, octopus and more. She admits that few people actually eat that way, but her culinary passion is infectious and she spreads it with her writing, humorous patter and her website, smartoctopuscookie.com. Her goal is simple: to change the world by expanding the common “safe” notions of food and drink and by “ensorcelling” (enchanting) one palate at a time.

Photo by David Mendelsohn

In her own words:

  • At the tender age of 6, I requested frogs’ legs and octopus salad from my parents in rural Vermont. To their credit, they helped foster my curiosity and palate.
  • I depleted my mother’s spice cabinet, drank wine at the dinner table (from age 10 onward), and took over the family cooking duties when just 11, as much as I was able.
  • I moved here to Rye one New Year’s Eve, just in time to ring in 2008, discovered the Seaport Fish store, and tried my first opah (moonfish) and cobia and pumpkin swordfish. I’ve loved shopping there ever since.
  • I care about the freshest cut of food, but am not a follower and devotee of everything being solely “organic” or “all natural.”
  • One can have organic ketchup and thus be eating
  • “organic” SUGAR. Strychnine is, of course, “all natural,” so that heading doesn’t cut it for me.
  • The integrity in how the food is raised, cultivated, and with what ingredients and/or how it is packaged — its dance, right up and onto our plate — means more to me than whether it’s 100 percent organic.
  • There isn’t anything from the ocean that I wouldn’t eat — from creamy, dreamy raw sea urchin (uni) to halibut cheeks and all cephalopods and mollusks.
  • Women today seem more food phobic and entangled by body hate “issues and tissues,” which prohibit them from exploring meals fully as compared to men, or so I witness when feeding people.
  • Food is the most sensual entity to me on Earth. It is an interval to linger, and for companions to eat off one plate, mop up the luscious oil dregs and toast to life.
  • I am of the belief that food is sacred stuff, and that the time to eat, live and love is unequivocally now!

Nope, that’s not Photoshop, it’s Laurie-Beth with an opah or moonfish, one of her favorites to buy fresh from the sea. The moonfish is the first-known warm-blooded fish, a remarkable talent that allows it to remain in deep waters longer and hopefully avoid becoming someone’s exotic meal. Check out the videos at smartoctopuscookie.com to see Laurie-Beth’s “signature dish.”

CREDIT: Thanks to Rich Pettigrew, owner of Seaport Fish in Rye.

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