In the Fishbowl: Schwartzpatch from Seafood Watch’s Blue Ribbon Task Force Conference in Monterey Bay

Seasonal spread. Jealous.

In partnership with our trusted local fisherman, we’ve seen how effective Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program can be in helping us make sound decisions on what seafood to source for our restaurants.  In follow up to his visit to earlier in the summer for Cooking for Solutions, tonight Michael again returns home from California where he just spent two days with fellow chefs and thought leaders in sustainable seafood for its Blue Ribbon Task Force conference.  Picturesque surroundings and foods in season like these figs and stone fruit drizzled with local honey and accompanied by fresh farmers cheese set an appropriate stage for sessions with aquarium leaders and scientists and a seriously impressive group chef participants including Wholesome Wave founder & CEO Michel Nischan, Hugh Acheson, Rick Moonen, Michael Cimarusti, and Mary Sue Milliken.

The Bernardus Lodge, an amazing property located in sunny Carmel Valley, kicked off the conference on Monday night with a dinner hosted by executive chef Cal Stamenov, and on the schedule for yesterday were plenty of meetings, a behind-the-scenes tour of Monterey Bay Aquarium and its hypnotizing schools of sardines and translucent jellies, and final reports by task force leaders, followed by dinner hosted by culinary operations head Cindy Pawlcyn and her chef Jeff Rogers.  Of course a jam-packed day of activities wouldn’t be complete without s’mores and wine by the fire back at Bernardus Lodge.  And perhaps a little local spirit, as well.  See below for a list of the participants and their objectives for meeting, and we look forward to more progress to come with the many issues impacting the sustainability of seafood close to home and beyond.

Blue Ribbon Task Force Participants
Lead Chefs
John Ash, Chef/Educator/Author, Napa, CA
Mary Sue Milliken, Chef/Owner, Border Grill Restaurant and others, Los Angeles, CA
Rick Moonen, Chef/Owner, RM Seafood Restaurant, Las Vegas, NV
Michel Nischan, Chef/Owner, Dressing Room Restaurant, Westport, CT
Cindy Pawlcyn, Chef/Owner, Mustards Restaurant and others, Napa, CA

Hugh Acheson, Chef/Partner, Five & Ten Restaurant and others, Athens, GA
Katherine Alford, Chef/VP Food Network Test Kitchen, New York, NY
Richard Blais, Chef, Flip Burger Boutique Restaurant and others, Atlanta, GA
Floyd Cardoz, Chef, North End Grill Restaurant, New York, NY
Michael Cimarusti, Chef/Owner, Providence Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Del Grande, Chef/Partner, Café Annie Restaurant, Houston, TX
Tom Douglas, Chef/Owner, Dahlia Restaurant and others, Seattle, WA
Clark Frasier, Chef/Owner, Arrows Restaurant and others, Ogunquit, ME
Mark Gaier, Chef/Owner, Arrows Restaurant and others, Ogunquit, ME
Chris Ivens Brown, VP/Executive Chef, Eurest Dining Services, Charlotte, NC
Paul Johnson, Founder/President, Monterey Fish Market, San Francisco, CA
Michael Leviton, Chef/Owner, Lumiere Restaurant and others, Newton, MA
Stephen Pyles, Chef/Author, Dallas, TX
Andrea Reusing, Chef/Owner, Lantern Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC
Jeff Rogers, Chef, Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant, Monterey, CA
Michael Schwartz, Chef/Owner, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Restaurant, Miami, FL
Barton Seaver, Chef/National Geographic Fellow, New York, NY
Virginia Willis, Chef/Author, Atlanta, GA

Facilitator
Dave Nakashima, Oakland, CA

Objectives
To learn how Seafood Watch can work with the culinary community to help meet our goals of moving the seafood industry toward sustainable seafood sources. Specifically,

1. To discover the barriers and gaps that chefs and culinarians experience when using Seafood Watch program (our recommendations, resources, etc.)

2. To generate ideas for how we can help chefs can use Seafood Watch recommendations and convey their commitment to their customers

3. To activate participants and, ultimately, other chefs to a higher level of engagement

4. To identify spokespeople who are willing to represent the Seafood Watch program

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