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WITH news correspondent DOUG LLEWELYN



Catsmo's founder, Robert Simon, has always been passionate about fishing, he considers it a hobby while his family would say it’s more like an obsession. For years Robert would spend his vacations fishing in the Florida Keys or New York's Finger Lakes. The idea of smoking his catch was born out of necessity when he would return home from fishing trips with far too much fresh fish than his family could eat themselves. Over time, Robert perfected his smoking techniques and recipes and began sharing with friends in NYC who also happened to be top chefs. Word of the outstanding quality of his smoked fish soon got around to other chefs in the city. In time Robert's little garage smoking operation grew but he never changed his fundamental principles of no compromises when it came to the quality of fish he chose nor his methods. Absolutely only quality fresh fish that had been fed an all-natural fish diet, an artisan smoking recipe, and close relationships with top chefs.

Today, Catsmo's smokehouse is run by Robert's brother Sebastien and the tradition of excellence continues. The facility may be larger but the hands-on artisanal practices of smoking are still strictly observed. Each morning fish is delivered to Catsmo's Catskill Mountain facility and met for inspection by Sebastien. All fish arrives fresh--never frozen--just hours after being pulled from the icy cold waters in which they were raised. Each fish is inspected both by sight and by smell, the only smell that passes Sebastien's inspection is the scent of fresh water, not the smell of fish.

More recently, Catsmo has joined forces with another fine foods purveyor, Markus Draxler and Solex Fine Foods. Together Sebastien and Markus are upholding the high standards and proven artisanal techniques to continue to produce smoked salmon that is always smooth, silky, and buttery in texture--never dry, sticky, or pasty. That difference is the direct result of having the highest standards and a drive to produce the absolute best smoked salmon available.