Last year, chef Matthew Kirkley grew frustrated with Chicago's geography. He worked at in Chicago, a renowned fine dining restaurant known for its seafood, but how could he possibly serve coastal-quality seafood on a consistent basis at a restaurant nowhere near an ocean? When shellfish products would get delivered to the restaurant, Kirkley recalls, they would be in a state of shock and paralysis from their long journey to Chicago. The quality of the meat would deteriorate, hindering the kitchen's ability to work with it. Abalone, for example, lose 40 percent of their body weight when they come out of the water.
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