Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Spotlight on Taste

Lori and her husband Jim

It was a simple recipe on a box of crushed crumbs that catapulted Lori Kennedy from a home-grown, family-owned seafood harvesting and processing company into the international culinary spotlight.

And what a leap it was ...

It all started in 1984, in the wake of the collapse of the cod fishery, when Lori and her husband started up a modest marine services company.

Since then, Louisbourg Seafood has grown impressively to include four fish processing plants, a fleet of fishing vessels, 500 employees, not to mention their own ‘Mira Bay’ brand of seafood products.

But, after pondering the recipe on the box of crumbs, Lori yearned to explore what lay beyond the fishing side of life by helping her customers in the US, Europe and Asia connect the pleasure of taste to the snow crab, northern shrimp, redfish, sea cucumber, sea urchin, and lobster that her company harvested.

“With today’s economy, people are cooking more food at home, but many don’t know how to properly prepare fish,” explains Lori. “We wanted to teach them how.”

Over the years, ACOA has helped the company implement a quality assurance program and to develop new export markets for exciting new products, enabling the company and community to make a smooth transition into alternative fisheries.

In 2008, while attending an ACOA-sponsored Taste of Atlantic Canada showcase in Chicago, Lori met Kimball Bernard, a research development chef with Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, an initiative that looked to combine culinary arts with food science to help companies develop their products.

Lori soon established a partnership with the Kitchen that, by encouraging student chefs from countries like India and China to prepare authentic cultural cuisine using her products, helped her target additional markets abroad.

“Student chefs like these bring inherent knowledge of culture and tradition that you can’t teach in a classroom,” says Lori. “I think they helped take our company where we needed to go in a global market.”

In 2010, Lori and her husband Jim submitted their Mira Bay processed crab and shrimp to Belgium’s premiere taste testing competition which earned both products star ratings in 2010 and 2011.

Lori says this kind of recognition is helping to place Mira Bay products in the spotlight with the world’s finest chefs.

“We want chefs and everyday consumers to start asking for our products. Focusing more on the culinary and taste experience around our products is an innovative way to help get our seafood where we want it to be,” she concludes.

Considering what Lori and her family have achieved to date, there seems little doubt that Louisbourg Seafood will continue to deliver the pleasure of taste on continents both near and far.

View a video interview with Lori at the 2011 Boston International Seafood Show.

Published May 10, 2013