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Monterey Bay Aquarium: Cooking for Solutions
Narsai David, Diana Kennedy and Julie Packard
Each year you can join some of the most renowned figures in the culinary world at "Cooking for Solutions" at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA. This 2-day event of fine dining and food-related activities was held on May 30-31, 2003. This was the second annual event and Diana Kennedy, the preeminent champion of regional Mexican cuisine and environmentally sustainable living, was the guest of honor.
Cooking for Solutions 2003 brought together a dozen noted chefs from around the country, including Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook(pictures right). Other chefs included: Jody Adams, John Ash, Ann Cooper, Traci Des Jardins, Jim Dodge, Suzanne Goin, Stephan Pyles, Judy Rogers, Cory Schreiber, Susan Spicer.
Highlights included a reception with the honoree (pictured top of page) and the Friday night gala with sustainable seafood dishes, organic cuisine and sustainable/organic wines. There was a Banquet with the Chefs on Saturday night and, my favorite, the farm and winery tours with chefs. Visits were made to Earthbound Farm, Arroyo Seco Ranch, Jekel Vineyards, VB Farms (pictured left), and Whole Foods. There was also a tour of Monterey's commercial wharf, including the aquaculture operation of the Monterey Bay Abalone Company.
The premise of the event is to help people connect their individual buying decisions to the health of the oceans and the soil.
Cooking for Solutions is an outgrowth of the Seafood Watch program, which aims to raise public awareness about the connection between seafood choices and the health of ocean wildlife. The Aquarium distributes a Seafood Watch pocket guide to help people choose seafood from sustainable sources. See: www.seafoodchoices.org. Since its debut in 1999, more than a million pocket guides have been distributed by the aquarium and its partner institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The guide has three sections: Best Choices, Caution and Avoid. The pocket guide, originally available for California only, next came out with West Coast seafood choices, and now there is a pocket guide for Hawaii. Next will be the Gulf Coast and the Southwest; the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic; the Midwest; and the Great Lakes region.
Increased consumer demand for seafood and the growth of destructive fishing practices have had a profound effect on the health of the oceans. Today, 11 of the world's 15 most important fishing areas--nearly 70 percent of the world's fisheries--are either fully fished or overfished.
While in Monterey I stayed at the Doubletree Hotel in Monterey, just a short walk from the Aquarium. The Doubletree is a full service hotel in downtown Monterey, close to shopping, the Tuesday Farmers' Market and Fisherman's Wharf. Call 800.222.TREE or 831.649.4511 for reservations.
Monterey Bay Aquariun
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940
2005 event dates are Friday & Saturday, May 20-21.