SaltWorks™, Inc. Issues Call to High-End Restaurants: Stop Putting Low-End Salt on the Table

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Restaurants that are dedicated to delivering gourmet food often use plain, refined table salt. But there are inexpensive alternatives.

When Mark Zoske sits down in a restaurant, he pours a little salt out of the shaker. But Zoske isn’t just playing around. The founder of SaltWorks™, Inc. ( is checking the quality of the salt - and most times, Zoske is dismayed to find ordinary refined table salt.

It is all the more puzzling to Zoske because he knows how hard restaurant owners and chefs work to obtain the best raw ingredients. From USDA Prime grade beef and certified organic vegetables to seafood flown in for optimal freshness and perfectly complementary side dishes and wines, no detail is overlooked. Except, perhaps, the salt.

"The last thing customers put on their food, and the first thing they taste, is salt," said Zoske. "Yet only a handful of restaurants and chefs use sea salts on their tables and in their recipes."

Zoske contends that every fine restaurant should provide high-quality sea salt on the table. At less than a penny per customer, it is less expensive than most people think. But more important to the customer, sea salt is healthier and tastes much better than plain table salt.

The product of clean sea water evaporated by the sun, hand-harvested sea salt contains the trace elements, nutrients and taste that are routinely stripped from mined salt during the refining process. It is a world apart from the sodium chloride most people know as salt. In fact, there are several types of sea salts, including Fleur de Sel, flake salt, pure ocean mill & grinder salt and stone-ground grey salt (Sel Gris), specifically used for finishing food.

So what would Zoske recommend for restaurants interested in improving the quality of their salt?

"Bare minimum, fill the salt shakers with Sonoma Gourmet Sea Salt," he advised. For a better restaurant, Zoske suggested putting Pure Ocean(TM) Sea Salt Crystals in an acrylic salt mill on every table and letting the customers choose the size to grind it. For the very high end, said Zoske, bring a flight of three finishing salts: Artisan Salt Company’s Fleur De Sel, Murray River Pink Flake Salt, and Salish(TM) Alderwood Smoked Salt. And organic or vegetarian restaurants should fill their shakers with Le Tresor(TM) Sel Gris ground whole mineral sea salt.

For those interested in learning more about the different types of sea salts and their uses in home kitchens and restaurants, SaltWorks provides a gourmet salt reference guide at

About SaltWorks™, Inc.

Founded in 2001 by Mark Zoske, SaltWorks imports premium gourmet sea salts and bath salts and supplies them to the wholesale, retail, and consumer markets throughout North America. SaltWorks customers range from individuals that order by the pound to manufacturers, restaurants, food co-ops, and health food stores that order by the pallet. The Seattle-area company maintains a strong commitment to providing the cleanest, most natural products possible.


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Mark Zoske