Number 51 - Page 38
salt, fire, and skill, the Lakes preserve fish - and tradition
AND JUDY LAKE were both weary veterans of California's corporate
food-service industry a dozen years ago when they learned that Katy's
Smokehouse, a smoked-fish producer in Trinidad, about 300 miles
north of San Francisco, was for sale. "We jumped on it,"
says Bob. Soon the Lakes had the life they'd longed for, living
on a rugged stretch of the Pacific, back in touch with individual
consumers, and involved with high-quality products over which they
had complete control. The previous owners taught Bob the nuances
of the company's smoking method, handed down to them by Katy State,
the smokehouse's founder (now deceased), who had launched the business
in the early 1940s using techniques learned from the local Yurok
The Lakes buy their catch from Trinidad fishermen, just as State
did, and painstakingly follow the original three-and-a-half-day
process of brining, drying, seasoning, and both cold- and hot-smoking
the fish over alder wood. They cure more than a dozen types of seafood
this way and never use chemicals-which, says Bob, make the fish
pasty and slimy, with a nasty "petroleumproduct bouquet".
Two years ago the Lakes introduced their peerless canned tuna roasting
sweet, firm albacore in the can with a sprinkle of salt-no water,
oil, or such fillers as soy protein. It's a top seller now, along
with their aromatic smoked albacore and spectacular smoked wild
king salmon. The Lakes like to keep their business personal and
will gladly smoke fish brought in by customers. These days, that
includes some members of the Yurok tribe who are more than happy
to let the Lakes do the work-since they know they'll do it right.
To order, call 707/677-0151 or visit www.katyssmokehouse.com.
by Mary Ellen Bartley