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Chef Reneé Touponce’s innovative approach to seafood, local clam shacks, and fish hunter Valentine Thomas

We’ve wanted to hook chef Reneé Touponce for an interview for a long time! She’s the executive chef at Oyster Club and The Port of Call, a nautical-themed cocktail lounge and restaurant in Mystic. She’s also the Connecticut Restaurant Association’s “Best Chef” of 2022 and a James Beard Award-finalist. She joins us to talk about her approach to cooking seafood and how it serves as a creative muse.

Plus, Valentine Thomas, a professional spearfisherwoman, ocean conservationist, and sustainability-focused cook, discusses her book Good Catch. She’ll share tips for grilling fish and explain why we might want to eat more of it.

And, Carolyn Wyman, author of The Great Clam Cake and Fritter Guide, offers her picks for Connecticut’s seafood shacks making the tastiest clam cakes and fritters.


Special thanks to Joe DeGeorge, aka “Quahog Joe,” for sharing his song “Quahog Day.”

Fish Puttanesca
Oysters, Three Ways
Corn Chowder


Reneé Touponce shouted out a trio of local seafood sources who’ve given her a deeper appreciation for the ingredients she cooks with every day:
Sea Well Seafood (want to see a monk fish?)
Will Ceddia – Sixpenny Oyster Farm (@sixpenny_oysters)
Suzie Flores – Stonington Kelp Co. (@stoningtonkelpco)

Listen to Will and Suzie talk about ocean farming in Connecticut in an episode from the Seasoned archive.

In her segment about spearfishing and seafood, Valentine Thomas referenced this recent study about the connection between seafood consumption during pregnancy and IQ.

Want to go on a clam cake crawl? Here are Carolyn Wyman’s picks for the best clam fritters in Connecticut:
Deary Brothers/Mike’s Stand in Putnam
Hank’s Dairy Barin Plainfield
Johnny Ad’s in Old Saybrook
The Lobster Shack in East Haven
Sea Swirl in Mystic

This show was produced by Robyn Doyon-Aitken, Catie Talarski, Meg Dalton, Katrice Claudio, Stephanie Stender, Tagan Engel, and Meg Fitzgerald, with help from Sabrina Herrera and Francesca Fontanez on Social. Our interns are Carol Chen and Stacey Addo.

Dive into all of the nautical themed stories airing this week on Connecticut Public's original talk shows by visiting ctpublic.org/nautiweek.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email: seasoned@ctpublic.org.

Seasoned is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Listen Notes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

Robyn is the host and senior producer of Seasoned.
Host of Seasoned and Restaurant Road Trip.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.
Meg Dalton is the deputy director of storytelling for Connecticut Public where she provides editorial support for the station’s talk shows and podcasts, including the limited series 'In Absentia'.
Stephanie Stender is a producer of Seasoned.
Katrice Claudio is a producer of Seasoned.
Tagan Engel is a producer/contributor and guest co-host of Seasoned. She is the founder of The Table Underground radio show, podcast, and website, and is a social justice organizer and trained chef.
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