Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Talking with Chefs

I spent last weekend at Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Cooking for Solutions" event. Its three days of culinary indulgence as leading chefs prepare delicious food, wineries from up and down the west coast seduce you with their nectare and all the time surrounded by the magical underwater life of the aquarium. Sounds like a regular session of good old indulgence? Nearly, but there's more.

Cooking for Solutions brings together not only great chefs, foodies and the media but also a powerful assembly of conservationists and environmental scientists. The mission of the gathering is to emphasize that eating food and caring about the environment doesn't mean you have to be a vegetarian, or just eat lentils, far from it. In fact 'food' and 'sustainability' find a harmony that only makes food, real food that is, taste even more delicious and down right wholesome and fulfilling. When a chef is inspired by his or her ingredients' taste as much as by its sustainability, then you know you are in for a veritable extravaganza!

I was sent to the event by one of my NGO clients to video interview two chefs Barton Seaver, Executive Chef and Owner of Hook in Washington, DC and Rick Moonen of RM Seafood in Las Vegas. Both Barton and Rick are dedicated to sourcing and serving the most sustainable seafood they can get their hands on. Both Chefs are passionate about why they choose to serve sustainable seafood and more importantly why they are prepared to go the extra 100 miles to do so. The video interviews are full of inspiring messages and fascinating insights.....I'll be posting some of the footage in the coming weeks.

In the meantime check out these resources if your interested in eating seafood for the environment as much as for taste:

Blue Ocean Institute produces a guide to sustainable seafood. Its packed full of interesting information and will help you make healthier seafood choices, download it here

Blue Ocean also provides a great text messaging service for when your out and about called FISHPHONE. Text 'FISH' and the name of the species your about to eat to 30644 and within seconds you will receive a text message back with information on the species sustainability.

Environmental Defense has a great webpage on seafood contaminants and how much of each species you can safely eat per month, check it out here

Monterey Bay Aquarium
has a great website to search for sustainable seafood options. Its comprehensive and easy to use, take a look here

And for all the culinary creatives Rick Moonen has a new book out this spring called "Fish Without a Doubt: The Cooks Essential Companion". Gourmet Magazine - Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore's book is inspiring, informative, and user-friendly—which is why we made it the first selection of the Gourmet Cookbook Club.

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