In Catching Hell, longtime seafood mogul Allen Ricca and author Joe Muto take readers behind the scenes of the high-end restaurant world and the international market for seafood, and how that industry has been impacted perhaps like no other due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This book exposes the fact that the American diner is being lied to on a regular basis. The culprit varies – sometimes it’s a chef or restaurant owner trying to cut corners to save money; other times it’s an unscrupulous supplier looking to pass off poor product to an unwitting receiver. And the cost of that scam eventually gets passed on to the consumer, whether it be in the form of higher prices at restaurants and markets, lower quality (or even counterfeit) product getting delivered onto your plate, or – God forbid – food poisoning. Furthermore, Ricca argues, the pandemic has only increased corruption in this industry.
This book serves as both an exposé and a call to arms, empowering consumers with the knowledge to make more informed choices when dining out.
Some of the things this explosive book reveals:
The one fish you should never order, one that’s always a rip-off. (And the one fish that’s always a delicious, virtually-unknown bargain.)
Why restaurants that advertise “fresh” fish are almost always lying.
How to get your favorite restaurant to treat you like royalty – without dropping thousands of dollars.
How the covid-19 pandemic has impacted our food supply chain and what it has meant for the everyday worker.
About the Author
Allen Ricca is an American businessman and entrepreneur. He is the eldest of two children and second-generation owner of Val’s Ocean Pacific. He is co-founder of Winchell Mountain Coffee and Managing Partner of Village Wine Imports. He and his wife live on a farm in Connecticut with their two bulldogs.
Joe Muto is an American writer and television producer. Joe made waves in 2012 with an anonymous column on Gawker.com, detailing the inner workings of the mysterious and controversial conservative cable outlet Fox News Channel. The column led to his termination, but also birthed his book, An Atheist in the FOXhole.
"An essential read for anyone looking to understand how the restaurant industry really works. Informative, hilarious and gripping. You'll devour every page and still be left wanting more." —Chef Hung Huynh, Season 3 Winner of Bravo’s Top Chef
"A book that will not disappoint! Catching Hell is both entertaining and informative, a must read for 2022." —Jamie Bissonnette, James Beard award-winner, Chef & Partner Toro, Coppa, and Little Donkey Boston
"Ricca knows this industry inside and out. He tells the story of his colorful career, and explains the business, with enthusiasm, wit, and candor—in lively, often salty, language we all can understand." —Robert Hormats, former vice chairman Goldman Sachs International and Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the environment (2009-2013)
"Come for the seafood, but stay for the gripping tale of personality clashes behind the scenes at some of your favorite restaurants. Ricca and Muto paint a vivid picture of a rough-and-tumble industry that touches all of our lives, but until today, most of us knew nothing about." —Patrick O’Shaughnessy CEO Positive Sum Venture Capital and author, Millennial Money: How Young Investors Can Build a Fortune
"Allen Ricca is constantly exploring new products and discovering new tastes, as well as revisiting & satisfying old ones. One thing is constant: his curiosity and dedication to quality food (sourcing) as well as his unyielding commitment to our industry's supply chain is unmatched. I am proud to work with him." —Erik Sun, Owner, PursuitFarms Wagyu, executive chef Intercrew LA
"I have known and worked with Allen and his family for over 25 years. This endlessly entertaining book perfectly captures his personality, and gives an unflinching look at the chaotic process that brings seafood from oceans around the world to restaurant kitchens around the corner." —M.J. Alam, Partner and Executive Chef Limani Rockefeller Center NYC
"Everyone has something to learn from Catching Hell—whether you are interested in seafood traceability, ethical business practices, or just getting the most out of your seafood order. " —Morgan Chow scientist for California Natural Resources Agency
"A heady rollercoaster of jaw-droppers and heart-warmers, Catching Hell is an honest-to-goodness gift to the everyday diner and food-lover. All thanks to the restaurant world’s number-one champion, and the greatest dining companion I’ve ever had." —Patty Diez, network development manager at Eater