john shiffert: De Vito likes the sea bass

DeVito Likes the Sea Bass –
Clayton State Trustee
Robert Lee’s
Seafood Company
Caters to the Stars

Morrow, Ga., May 14, 2003–Southside Seafood Company, co-owned and operated by Clayton College & State University Board of Trustees Vice-Chair Robert Lee, is more than a regional seafood establishment. Lee and Southside Seafood Company cater to the stars. Most recently (January 2003 to the end of April 2003), Southside Seafood provided seafood for the Danny DeVito/Jessica Lange/Albert Finney film “The Big Fish,” which will be swimming into theaters between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2003.

“I was told Danny DeVito really liked the fresh Chilean Sea Bass,” says Lee. (A native of the Jersey Shore, DeVito would naturally know good seafood.)

“The Big Fish,” perhaps aptly titled for the likes of Lee and his chefs, was filmed on location in Montgomery, Al. Forest Park-based Southside Seafood was responsible for transporting fresh seafood to the set where For Stars Catering, a premier motion picture catering company based in Los Angeles, prepared gourmet meals for the cast and crew three times daily. Some days they would feed more than 800 extras.

For Stars Catering has a reputation to produce an unending variety of favorite standards and trend setting tastes, says Lee. Part of their success is due to their sourcing of specialized food purveyors such as Southside Seafood Company who will take the necessary time and effort on a consistent basis to ensure they receive the very best product in the world.

But if you think delivering high-quality seafood to the set of a film is as easy as driving a delivery truck from point A to point B, well, it isn’t quite as simple as that.

Transporting fresh seafood to an island off of Washington required commercial air from Atlanta to Seattle, private small plane transport to the island, and local cab delivery to the movie set, recalls Lee of one of his film catering experience. It isn’t every seafood vendor that wants to take on such a huge responsibility, but this has proved to be a niche market for Southside Seafood Company.

Of another Hollywood production Lee relates that the logistics of transporting fresh seafood to the set of “Twister” was a nightmare, since filming took place in five cities in the Midwest, “plus, did you really think all those 8 p.m. night scenes were really filmed at 8 p.m.?” he asks.

The big-name movie and television list that Southside Seafood has procured and delivered outstanding seafood to is quite impressive, including: “Twister,” “Cast Away,” “Dumb & Dumber,” “Contact,” “What Lies Beneath,” “Free Willy II,” “Ghosts of Mississippi,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Lonesome Dove,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Fled,” “Fluke,” “Ty Cobb,” “Grosse Point Blank,” “Last Confederate Widow Tells All,” and the television series “Touched by an Angel” and “Sole Survivor.”

While filming the pilot for “Touched by an Angel,” star Roma Downey told Southside Seafood Company’s Chef Shelby she could eat her fresh prepared lobster or mussel salad every day. Chef Shelby subsequently married Lee after nine months of catering “Touched by an Angel” in Salt Lake City.

“She came back to Atlanta to marry her man,” laughs Lee. The cast of “Touched by an Angel” subsequently presented Shelby Lee with an embroidered shirt on which Downey wrote, Shelby, you’re an angel.

In addition providing seafood for the aforesaid productions, Shelby Lee has also prepared meals on the sets of a half dozen movies, and “Touched by an Angel.”

The Lees live in Stockbridge and enjoy spending time with their pets and working around their log cabin and garden.

Robert Lee attended Clayton State as a student in 1977 and has also completed several Clayton State Continuing Education courses, including the Small Business Development Center. He is currently serving his second term on the Clayton State Foundation Board of Trustees. In addition to co-ownership, Lee is the president of Southside Seafood and has been in business for 15 years.

For more information on Southside Seafood Company, call (404) 366-6172, or 1-800-334-LOBSTER, or visit www.southsideseafood.com.

Clayton College & State University, Your University for Atlanta’s Southern Crescent, is a state university of the University System of Georgia, located in Morrow.