"Fish translates to food. If you want a solution to solve the problem, then eat the problem," says famed Louisiana chef Philippe Parola.
Parola is being brought in for DNR's new initiative, "Target Hunger Now!". The program will provide food banks and organizations like Southside Mission with Asian carp to help feed Illinois families. Even with 415 tons of the fish pulled out of Illinois waterways over the past two years, there are still plenty of "problems" to chow down on.
"[Asian carp are] a resource that's out of place," says Illinois DNR director Marc Miller. "We need to be using that to feed people. We need to be utilizing that in our communities."
"Target Hunger Now!" is not only designed to provide food for the hungry, but healthy food to the people who need it most.
"At the same time we see an obesity epidemic and a diabetes epidemic, those are direct results of hunger in our community because in this country, there is access to food. It's just cheap, non-nutritious food," says Feeding Illinois director Tracy Smith.
The biggest challenge the program faces is the idea that Asian carp can not and should not be eaten, but students at Southside Mission's Culinary School disagree with that notion.
"Everybody says it's a bad fish. It's nasty. It's dirty and whatnot. Really, it's not," says culinary student Courtney Osgood. "It's actually some really good fish. Tastes like bass to me."
So for those of you still skeptical about your dinner literally jumping from the river and onto your plate...
"Try it," says Osgood. "It's good fish!"
Another benefit of the "Target Hunger Now!" initiative is that is helps control the Asian carp population, which have been known to attack people and overrun other water-dwelling species.