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Chefs on the Grill with Michael Nagrant - Fucik and Dugan

This month, Nagrant chats with two of the city’s most knowledgeable fishmongers: first, Dirk Fucik (Dirk’s Fish and Gourmet Shop, 2070 N. Clybourn Ave.; 773-404-3475), then Bill Dugan (The Fishguy Market, 4423 N. Elston Ave.; 773-283-7400), who have a combined 60 years of experience in all things aquatic.

Photograph: Tyllie Barbosa
fuckik and dugan

Fucik and Dugan

PODCAST: To hear more from Nagrant’s conversation with Dirk Fucik and Bill Dugan click the Podcast above. (01.01:28)

Fucik
MN: Do people still think you can’t get good seafood in the Midwest?
DF:
Chicago’s one of the best places in the country. You’ve got O’Hare . . . East Coast fish comes in, West Coast fish comes in, you’ve got the Great Lakes stuff.

MN: How much time passes from the moment a fish is pulled from the water to the moment it comes in the store?
DF: A photographer needed a small sturgeon for a shoot, and we got an eight-pounder, from one of those farms out west, Fed-Exed. He took his pictures, and it came back to life. From the tank to him in less than 24 hours. Still wiggling.

MN: What’s your favorite seafood?
DF:
King crab is the best thing in the sea.

Dugan
MN: Is Chicago still a meat and potatoes town?
BD:
I know lots of very masterful cooks, but they’re very intimidated by seafood. There’s not an appreciation of the market here as there is in New York.

MN: Why did you introduce Wellfleet [where he turns the Fishguy shop into an upscale restaurant on Thursday nights]?
BD:
I wanted to encourage people to kind of get together in a setting that might encourage some cross-pollination there, some ideas, some exchanges.

MN: If you were on death row, what would you choose as your last meal?
BD:
Would you like me to answer that in a vernacular fish? It would be peanut butter. I love peanut butter. But I think, probably, some really beautiful sashimi-nice big-eyed tuna. With just a little soy sauce.

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