Statewide free Asian carp cookout to be held this Saturday
With a mission to expand local food options and to continue efforts to remove Asian carp from Illinois waterways, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be offering free Asian carp meals at nine locations across the state this Saturday, Oct. 17.
Two of these locations will be at Giant City Start Park in Makanda and Walker’s Bluff Vineyard in Carterville.
IDNR is teaming with Sorce Freshwater Company and the Midwest Fish Co-op, for this event, along with continued support from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
In addition, help from local partners including regional planning commissions, universities, food distribution companies and restaurants, will showcase the versatility and nutritional benefits of Asian carp.
“Removing Asian carp from our waterways has long been one of our best and most well-known tactics when it comes to keeping these invasive fish from the Great Lakes,” said INDR direcor Colleen Callahan.
“But what is lesser known when it comes to Asian carp is the overwhelming benefit as both a food source and potential menu item for restaurants. To showcase its nutritional benefits and adaptability as protein source, we’re partnering with businesses to provide free meals across the state.”
From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Giant City Stat Park Visitors Center, chefs from Cristaudo’s Café, Bakery and Catering will prepare and serve a Jamaican Escovitch fish taco filling, available for pick up.
Also, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., Chefs from Walker’s Bluff Vineyard will prepare and serve Asian carp in the winery’s tasting room.
Additionally, students at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale also will have the opportunity to taste Asian carp creations at select dining hall locations.
“You know that old expression, ‘Take lemons and make lemonade?’ Well, that’s what we’re doing here,” Callahan said. “We’re just taking fish and making fish tacos, sliders, and a host of other food items Illinoisans love. It’s a win-win.”