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Meet Luke Joyal, Big Y Fishmonger
Like the old saying goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Well, Luke Joyal knows about them all and is waiting behind the seafood counter at Big Y to recommend something fresh, tasty and perfect for your occasion. We had a chance to sit down with Luke and get a glimpse into the life of a Big Y fishmonger.
What’s a day in the life of a Big Y fishmonger like?
It’s a lot of fun! I get into work pretty early and start setting up the department. I turn on the lights, fryers and steamer, then start working on the display cases. Working with an ice case, I get to be creative and set it up how I like each day and display new and interesting fish. Once the cases are set up and the order is sent, then it’s all about the service counter and customer service.
People talk a lot about comfort food; is there a comfort seafood?
Of course! Lobster mac & cheese and seafood casseroles are the first that come to mind, but any food that you have a connection with can be a comfort food.
What is your favorite part of working in the
Big Y Seafood Department?
Building relationships within the community. I enjoy seeing familiar faces and getting to continually interact with people and talk seafood. I love when a customer gets a piece of fish and comes back to tell me how they liked it, then jumps in for another recommendation and experiment. It’s really cool.
Why do you think New Englanders love seafood so much?
(Aside from the fact that we’re so close to the ocean.)
It truly is engraved in our culture. Our ancestors who developed New England brought with them a culture of seafood. All we have done is just continue this legacy with increasingly high-quality and fresh products.
Do you have a favorite catch? How do you prepare it?
Salmon is my all-time favorite seafood. My favorite sauce to put on it is a combination of mayo, horseradish and Dijon mustard. Try it, you’ll love it.
What seafood is always a “no thank you” from you?
I’ve never met a seafood I didn’t like.
In what ways can seafood be a healthy choice?
Seafood is one of the healthiest protein options available. Deep frying it, however, takes away a bit of the healthy.
Dealing with customers is a big part of what you do. Is there a story or memorable experience with a customer you can share?
The regular customers that I see often and have a good relationship with really do hold a special place in my heart. Working in my previous store I got to know a lady and her husband very well and I enjoyed seeing them each week. One week a little bit before Christmas I see them walking up to the counter and her hands are behind her back and she has a little smirk on her face. From behind her back she pulls out a gift bag with a bunch of handmade goodies inside and a Christmas card. That little act really showed me just how much she cared about me and how much I have impacted their life, even if it’s just a little bit. It really validated all that I do and all that I work for; it was amazing.
What’s on your “Top Five All-Time Seafood” list?
- King Crab
What’s the most popular seafood item?
Our sales each week really persuade popularity; however, you can always count on our salmon to be a really consistent and popular sell.
Can seafood put you in a good mood?
I have never eaten seafood and been in a bad mood. The best mood-improving seafood, however, has to be lobster, if I had to pick.
What do you love about seafood?
Everything. Especially the versatility of it. There are a million and one different ways to have it, and depending on the situation, there is a product for you.
Everyone has their own “perfect” way to eat oysters;
Oysters on the half shell with a little bit of cocktail sauce and lemon is the true classic. Having them deep-fried in a Po' boy sandwich is also absolutely incredible.