Labor of love — fruits of the sea a life long passion for Jim Oswalt

Twenty years ago, Jim Oswalt took his first job, at the fish counter of his local QFC. The young man had a passion for all things ocean - already a keen fishermen, working with fish just seemed to make sense.

Twenty years ago

Twenty years ago

Twenty years ago, Jim Oswalt took his first job, at the fish counter of his local QFC. The young man had a passion for all things ocean – already a keen fishermen, working with fish just seemed to make sense.

Two decades later Oswalt opened his very own fresh seafood market right here in Issaquah, Gemini Fish Market at 1410B NW Gilman Boulevard, just behind the Firestone Tires. It is the culmination of many years working in every aspect of the industry. Oswalt is one of those people that knows people – including where to get the best catch.

Like most locals, Oswalt is looking forward to some warmer weather – summer is salmon season, a great time not only for local fisherman but also the gourmets among us who love the unmistakeable taste of fish cooked nicely on the barbecue.

“This is the time of year when good salmon is at its most plentiful,” he said. “Copper River typically signifies the beginning of salmon season to most of us in the Northwest. From here the floodgates open and we’ll have lots of great salmon all summer long and into fall. Kings and sockeye are first, followed by Coho (Silver) usually in July or August. That being said, Gemini typically has a good jag of fresh wild King Salmon all winter long.”

As well as providing fresh fish, Oswalt is also eager to help locals learn the best ways to cook it.

Teaming up with Oswalt at Gemini is accomplished Eastside chef Dave Gipson, whose company Gourmet Butters provides the wonderful compound organic butters that can be found at Gemini, as well as quality restaurants from here to Seattle. Gipson has developed a number of fantastic seafood recipes using the fresh seafood at Gemini.

And Oswalt has just started a series of cooking classes, which he holds at the Gemini Fish Market store.

Last month it was sushi with local sushi chef Michael Suzuki.

On June 26, a good friend of Oswalt’s, Mike Clark, who will be known to food lovers as the chef at Gibson’s Steak House in Chicago, will demonstrate how to cook a “Patio Paella,” a version of the famous Spanish dish perfect for the seafood and outdoor grills of the Northwest.

“He’ll be using a whole bunch of great stuff,” Oswalt said. “The firm fish are good for paella, halibut, rockfish, plus King Crab claws, mussels… lots of good, fresh ingredients. And the best thing about the class is that everyone will get to eat what they cook.”

Oswalt hopes to continue his series of cooking classes and is working with a number of local chefs on new events through the summer and fall. Interested? Give him a call at 425-961-0741, e-mail, or visit Gemini’s facebook page.

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