Making it in business for 130 years requires more than just good product. It requires expertise, adaptability, and a passion for the job.
And since its modest beginnings as a seafood stand in New Orleans’ famous French Market in 1892, Paul Piazza & Sons Inc. has leveraged all these tenets to become one of the largest fully vertically integrated suppliers of Gulf of Mexico shrimp. Today the company processes more than 30 million pounds annually of Premium, Wild-Caught, Gulf of Mexico shrimp. This represents nearly 1/3 of all Gulf landings.
When it comes to seafood, few things are more coveted or marketable than these delectable crustaceans renowned for their sweet, tender meat and delicate flavor.
But what exactly makes Gulf shrimp so special? Location. Location. Location.
One key factor that sets Gulf shrimp apart is the water they come from. The Gulf of Mexico is teeming with biodiversity, and its warm, shallow waters provide an ideal environment for shrimp to thrive. The combination of saltwater and freshwater from the Mississippi River creates a unique blend of nutrients that contributes to the shrimp’s distinctive flavor and texture.
What differentiates Paul Piazza & Sons from its peers is the company’s master tradecraft and dedicated tradesmen. Using traditional methods like shrimp nets allows its fishermen to carefully hand-select and sort the shrimp so they are not damaged in the process. The catch is brine frozen , on board, as it is landed, which preserves the shrimp at the peak of freshness throughout the trip. Additionally, all shrimp are processed using only fresh well water rather than recycled water from the bayou, which delivers a product with a better appearance and no off flavors or odor at the operator level. PP&S and Sysco standards mandate that all products are inspected for weights, counts, defects and overall quality and that they exceed industry and USDC Grade A standards.
“Only the best fishermen and fleets fish for us,” said Andy Neely, Paul Piazza & Sons Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “They are paid a premium to deliver quality raw material and they must follow sustainable practices with their vessels to help preserve our Gulf and our fishery. These guidelines and standards are followed to preserve freshness, product integrity and quality from the moment the shrimp come out of the water.” Paul Piazza & Sons require that each of their Captain’s all sign a Sustainability Covenant for every trip, ensuring they understand and support their standards.
The company’s commitment to sustainability is evident as they continue to work closely with state and federal agencies and non-government organizations. As a leader in the industry, Paul Piazza & Son is a founding member of and primary stakeholder in Fishery Improvement Projects in Texas and Louisiana, both coordinated by the Audobon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries.
Chefs can serve Portico Shrimp with confidence knowing that the shrimp on their tables is sustainably sourced, fully traceable, and coming from a trusted partner with quality standards that ensure a great tasting product every time.