Celebrity Chefs Pledge to Use Only Sustainable Seafood: Who's In and Who's Not


Grilled Oysters with Wasabi and Miso
David Anderson, Executive chef of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Portola Restaurant

photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Many of you are probably aware of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program. Monterey Bay Aquarium provides a handy pocket guide that's extremely helpful for the everyday foodie. The guide is separated into three categories: red, yellow, and green. Seafood choices under the red category should be avoided, seafood choices under the yellow category can be eaten in moderation, and seafood choices under the green category should be the focus of your consumption. Over the past few years the program has gained more and more notoriety. Most recently, celebrity chefs, including Alton Brown and Alex Guarnaschelli, and about two dozen other big named chefs have pledged to remove unsustainable seafood from their menus. See who's taken the pledge and what it's all about. Celebrity chefs across the nation have signed Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Pledge, including Alton Brown, Alex Guarnaschelli, Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Sam Choy, and Jim Dodge.These all-star chefs have pledged the following:

To serve no wild-caught or farmed seafood on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch red "avoid" list.

To communicate our commitment--with peers and the public--so others will join us.

To use our talents to introduce new dishes demonstrating that sustainable seafood is also delicious to eat.


Sustainable Seafood Recipes From Celebrity Chefs
Part of the pledge asks chefs to come up with preparations that highlight sustainable seafood, especially seafood found on the green list, which is where the majority of your seafood consumption should be focused. Each month a featured chef will come up with a gorgeous recipe like January's Recipe: Oysters with Wasabi and Miso
from David Anderson, executive chef of the Portola Restaurant at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Other recipes include Alex Guarnaschelli's Baked Clams with Bacon and Rick Moonen's Chicken-fried Catfish with Green Tartar Sauce and Asian Slaw. Read more recipes here.


Chef Alex Guarnaschelli's recipe for Baked Clams with Bacon

These chefs are demonstrating that gourmet fare doesn't have to harm the environment by staying away from the seafood species which have been hit hardest by overfishing and terribly unsustainable fishing practices, such as trawling, in which big nets with heavy chains drag along the ocean floor to gather everything in a ship's path. Trawling is similar to driving a bulldozer on the ocean floor. It destroys all the biodiversity in its way.

What's a little disconcerting is the number of chefs who aren't on the list. In this age of super chefdom, where chefs have become mega-super stars with groupy-like followers, the celebrity chef's influence on this sustainability movement cannot be underestimated. By not signing on, chefs seem to be minimizing the importance of protecting our oceans. And considering that seventy percent of the world's fisheries are either in decline or are already fished at their capacity, this is by no means an issue that should be overlooked.

More on Monterey Bay Aquarium:
KQED Quest Visits the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to Learn about Ocean Acidification
Stump Your Waiter, Waitress or Butcher with the iPhone Sustainable Seafood App
Super Green Seafood List Connects Ocean and Human Health (in Pictures)

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