San Diego’s seafood culture — from its fishermen to the city’s chefs and restaurants— will be the subject of a new television show premiering Monday, March 1, on the Outdoor Channel. The Fishmonger stars local seafood expert Tommy Gomes, a native San Diegan and former commercial fisherman whose long career in the industry includes 15 years with Catalina Offshore Products, where he founded a walk-in fish market for the wholesaler and started a educational dinner series.
His collaborator in the show is Scott Leysath, the host of The Sporting Chef and Dead Meat, who says that Gomes is the perfect guide to the regional seafood scene, with his depth of knowledge about sustainable seafood, industry connections, and passion for education. Leysath tells Eater by phone that it’s their goal to connect the audience, especially San Diego viewers, with the fishing community and encourage them to buy local.
The eight-episode series will include conversations with fishermen including sea urchin diver and Tuna Harbor Dockside Market director Pete Halmay, as well as live fishing footage and cooking demos with area chefs like Wrench & Rodent’s Davin Waite and Anthony Pascale of Saiko Sushi. Leysath says the show could eventually expand beyond San Diego and extend to feature farmers and ranchers.
Since leaving Catalina, Gomes has also been working to open his own seafood market. This summer, in partnership with longtime friend Mitch Conniff, owner of Point Loma’s popular Mitch’s Seafood, he will be launching TunaVille Market and Grocers, a wholesaler and direct-to-consumer marketplace located right on the water at Driscoll’s Wharf.
Named for the nickname of the Point Loma neighborhood that honors the community’s generations of tuna fishermen, the market will be stocked with local seafood plus ready-to-cook meals like fish skewers and grab-and-go foods including salads, sandwiches, and ceviche. Gomes says his future plans for the space include an education center that will host classes and special events. He tells Eater that the show and the market are avenues to accomplishing his main mission, to “educate, promote, and have fun” while supporting San Diego’s fishing fleet.
Preview The Fishmonger now: