Zupan’s store experts are all well-trained and passionate about what they do. Furthermore, they have their own personal backgrounds that make them who they are—both in and out of the store. Marie, our Belmont Seafood Expert, shares her story.
How did you begin your career at Zupan’s Markets?
I’ve been with Zupan’s since 1996, beginning at the old Raleigh Hills’ meat department. Six months later, there was a management opening in seafood, which was perfect for me because I was a single mother raising four children, and this position afforded weekends off.
Since Raleigh Hills, I’ve worked at several Zupan’s locations. I helped open Belmont, transferred to Macadam, then opened the old Jantzen Beach store, and I even worked at Burnside before finally settling in back at Belmont. I’ve been at this store for the past two years and remain their Seafood Manager.
What makes you a Seafood Expert?
I have 15 years of experience working with seafood. It’s important to me that I learn something new every day, so I’m always asking questions and seeking information about what we carry. I make sure we buy seafood that isn’t over-fished, that’s as local as possible, and that is never caught overseas. I also communicate with our suppliers, Pacific Seafood and Newman’s Fish Company, about what their freshest products are and how best to prepare them. I keep a collection of cookbooks by my station that gives customers the knowledge and confidence they need to prepare restaurant-quality recipes, usually with about 2 or 3 ingredients.
What is your favorite seafood dish?
Definitely pan-seared scallops! Just drizzle a pan with olive oil and add one tablespoon of butter (salted or unsalted is fine). Add scallops and cook for two minutes on each side until the outside is crunchy and the inside succulent. You don’t have to add any spices—just serve it with some local, seasonal produce like asparagus, broccoli, or even fruit.
What’s your earliest memory involving fish?
I was around ten years old when my family went on vacation to Odell Lake. My father was fishing in the creek, and I stood beside him, too young to fish myself. It was dusk, and about five bats were out, hitting my father’s fishing line. He didn’t catch anything that night, but I learned early on that not all fishing adventures end in a good catch; my father is gone now, and this memory is precious to me.
If we opened up your refrigerator, what would we find?
The only things you’ll find in my fridge on a regular basis are condiments, especially Dulcet mustards. I do all my shopping at the Belmont Zupan’s, so I bring home fresh meat and produce every shift instead of letting it sit at home.
What do you like to do when you’re not working with seafood?
Now that my kids are grown and raised, I get to relax and enjoy Sudoku after work, and on the weekends I garden, sew, and cook. I consider myself a creative person so try to spend my free time creating.
What are you reading right now?
Currently, Cook’s Illustrated “America’s Test Kitchen.” Entertaining season is around the corner, so I am reading about holiday hors d’oeuvre recipes in case customers need any help coming up with ideas.
How do you celebrate the holidays?
I spend it with family! I fix a turkey every Thanksgiving and, for Christmas, I prepare prime rib smothered in minced garlic, Papa Jake’s Seasoning, and kosher salt.