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Kai Gourmet - Quality without Exception

As the need for transparency and traceability grows within the foodservice industry, Jordano’s makes an extra effort to align itself with business partners who identify with this concept on both a local and global scale. Welcome, Kai Gourmet.

Kai Gourmet offers premium fish and natural gourmet food products from New Zealand and around the world, primarily sourcing products that use sustainable fishing and farming methods. Sustainability and traceability are at the forefront of Kai’s culinary mission. Because they care about communities and the environment, they source from both local and global producers who share their beliefs.

“We sincerely care about the environment and want to be as thoughtful as we can in our approach to sourcing fish,” said Kai’s Vice President of Purchasing and Sales, Kathleen Hanson. “There are so many fishermen and farms out there that are all about quantity rather than quality. We only sell seafood and products that we would eat ourselves. There is a lot of misrepresentation out there, and we want to be as transparent as possible with our entire product line. It’s this commitment that inspired our slogan, ‘Quality without Exception.’”

Separating Themselves from the Pack
With a myriad of gourmet fish companies to choose from in today’s market, Kai Gourmet is unique in that, in addition to their premium line of offerings, they also offer an amazing line of platinum quality items that they’ve spent years evaluating, sourcing and cultivating for their discerning clientele. Included in this platinum line are New Zealand products such as Alfonsino, Tai Snapper, John Dory, Tarakihi and Trevally. The majority of this fish is wild, long-line caught, Ike-Jime killed – which has almost zero stress on the fish – and can be delivered to your business within 36 hours of it coming out of the water. You can truly see and taste the difference.

New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to place a rigid quota system on wild caught seafood. Recently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium awarded New Zealand farmed King Salmon a ‘best choice’ rating – yet another way Kai differentiates itself. “We were thrilled with the news as we’ve been carrying Ora King Salmon from New Zealand since we opened our doors in 2013,” said Kathleen. “We knew it was a superior product, and the recognition from the Monterey Bay Aquarium reinforced this. In fact, the Monterey Bay Aquarium recognizes many of the items we source as “best choice” or “good alternatives” such as the Glacier 51 Toothfish (aka Chilean Seabass) and U.S.A. squid – all of which are available through Jordano’s.”

Strong Relationships
It’s no surprise that positive relationships are key to any business. Over the years, Kai has worked extensively to develop and maintain close relationships with their suppliers who, in turn, provide them with cutting-edge menu concepts and products.

“We are always looking for new and interesting items and partnerships through seafood shows or recommendations from fellow colleagues who share the same philosophy and work ethic as we do,” said Kathleen. “When possible, we like to visit the vendor so we can see first-hand how they conduct their business. Plus, we believe in building relationships. Trust and commitment are paramount in this business, and we want to ensure we keep the supply chain intact from the boat or farm to the customer’s plate.”

With over 38 years of experience in the seafood industry, Kathleen definitely knows a thing or two about partnerships. And, it was her partnership with Jordano’s Assistant Director of Purchasing and Center of the Plate Specialist, Larry Fiscalini, that brought Kai’s product line to Jordano’s in mid-2016. “I’m so happy and excited we have partnered with Jordano’s as we share the same philosophy of pride and commitment in our products and services. I work closely with Larry, Kim Hall (Jordano’s seafood buyer), and Jordano’s amazing Account Executives to bring that experience to you, the Jordano’s customer.”

For more information about Kai Gourmet, visit www.kaigourmet.com or find them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. A wealth of unique recipe concepts utilizing Kai’s products are also available on their Pinterest page.

At a Glance: Kai Gourmet's Product Line

  • Ora King Salmon (order by 10 a.m. for next day delivery) – Carefully raised in the clearest water in the world, Ora King Salmon have the highest fat content of all salmon and are a rich source of Omega 3. The fish are graded by hand to ensure quality and given a gill tag allowing for impeccable traceability. Monterey Bay Aquarium “best choice” rated.
  • Glacier 51 Chilean Sea Bass/ Patagonian Toothfish (stocked item) – Kai sources its Glacier 51 toothfish from Heard Island, Australia. It’s certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council and is Monterey Bay Aquarium “best choice” rated. Never injected with water, the yield on this product is almost 100%.
  • Spanish Octopus (stocked item) – Wild caught off the coasts of Spain, Portugal and Morocco, this octopus is of the highest quality. They are pre-tenderized for quicker preparation and have a higher fat content that delivers a sweet flavor.
  • Calvisius Caviar (order 48 hours in advance to ensure availability) – After trying many caviars, Calvisius (farmed in Italy) was the best caviar found. The sturgeon are grown in open ponds and utilize the abundant fresh, underground spring water to keep the sturgeon water clean. It’s a true malassol (low salt) caviar, salted at 3.4% (standard is 3.8% to 5%) and is fresh rather than pasteurized. Calvisius has more sustainable and food safety certifications than any other sturgeon farm in the world (Friend of the Sea, BRC, IFS, ISO and CITES). What’s more, Calvisius caviar is 100% transparent and 100% traceable. Every tin shows the species of sturgeon of that roe and is barcoded tracing back to the chipped sturgeon it came from.
  • Tasmanian Ocean Trout (order by 10 a.m. for next day delivery) – A cross between steelhead salmon and rainbow trout, this delicious fish is Kai’s signature fish. It looks like salmon and cooks like salmon, but has its own distinctive delicate flavor. Farmed in Tasmania by Petuna, it’s trademarked as the “Wagyu of the Sea.”
  • Grass Fed New Zealand Butter (order by 10 a.m. for next day delivery) – Made from 100% grass-fed cows and certified organic by the FDA, this butter has a very clean taste and is 83% butter fat. Available in 20/1# salted or unsalted, and 20/1 kg. sheets for pastries and desserts.
  • Tuna Poke Cubes (order by 10 a.m. for next day delivery) – Poke bars are the newest craze, and Kai has sourced an amazing hand cut #1 tuna poke cut that has no sinew or tendons. This item is a sure hit!


For more information about other Kai Gourmet products available through Jordano’s, contact your Account Executive today.

Article by Kiersta Halseth Tibbetts, Assistant Director of Marketing, Jordano's Foodservice