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Chef Heidi

Chef Heidi    |    Weddings


Who Counts the Fish?

In the last 15 years we’ve seen the collapse of fishing grounds as well as the decline of specific fish species.  As a user of fish purveyors I do my very best to keep abreast of fish populations.  But who do I rely on to keep me accurately informed?

There are government and independent groups around the world that monitor the fisheries and seafood stocks. In the a recent Food Arts magazine issue there is an article outlining the struggles of these groups to monitor the populations while struggling to maintain consistency in their goals. The struggle arises from the conflict of the goals, interests and missions of each group. 

“It’s a challenge to have that many different countries involved,” says Christine Patrick, NOAA spokesperson.  “They all have their interests and battles that don’t always align with what’s in the best interest of the fish.”(Food Arts, March 2011, pg. 50)

In 2010, President Obama signed an Executive to create the National Ocean Policy.

According to the White House website the Order established for the first time a comprehensive national policy for the stewardship of the ocean, coasts and Great Lakes.  This will set us on a path toward planning for preservation and sustainable usage.

But as Warner Chabot, executive director and CEO of the California League of Conservative Voters, the nonpartisan political action arm of California’s environmental movement.  “Regulations can solve part of the problem. But regulations also can be very tough to enforce.  That’s why we need market solutions like Seafood Watch.  In a decade, it’s made sustainable seafood a mainstream issue. It has rocked the ocean conservation world.” (March 2011, Food Arts, pg. 50)

And that brings me to the organization I turn to, Seafood Watch of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California.  These are the people who “count the fish” for me so I can fulfill my client’s wishes while aiding in the goal of sustainable fish populations.

Be an informed consumer.  Please see the following sites:

http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx?c=dd

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/

http://www.blueocean.org/sushi


Where’s the Beef?

We offer a porterhouse, a cowboy steak, a filet mignon and a Kobe skirt steak.  But we would be foolish to ignore the most recent driving force in the restaurant world.  There is a wave of meatlessness flowing over chefs from coast to coast.  And it’s not just meat but any product produced from any animal. This includes all dairy, eggs and even honey.  This is not vegetarianism but veganism. 

 

 

 

If you are assuming the vegan talking to the waiter at the next table is a throwback to the ’60s you are probably wrong. People are turning to a vegan way of life for their overall health, hormone imbalances, environmental concerns, the National debt, animal rights, longer life, religion and food budgets. 

 

 

 

If any of these reasons don’t suffice let me announce the best reason to dine as a vegan. Chefs are falling over themselves competing with one another to create incredibly delicious vegan dishes.  Go to Vegas and the restaurants are bubbling with vegan choices.  Steve Winn, the casino and restaurant mogul, is requesting his star chefs add vegan choices to their already exceptional menus.  New York City leads the way with not only vegan menu additions but exciting vegan restaurants.

 

 

 

This past November, I took my family to NYC.  While there we celebrated Thanksgiving.  On that day most were in pursuit of the turkey but I took my family to Peacefood Cafe on the upper Westside.  They offered a prix fix menu and we dined on four courses of some of the best food I’ve experienced.  The chestnut soup was delicate and exceptional.  My entree featuring a rich lentil loaf was served with a luxurious mushroom sauce, a whole cranberry sauce, golden raisin stuffing, purple sweet potatoes whipped with coconut milk, roasted lotus root and lemon kale.  Not one of us missed the turkey. 

 

 

 

At Black Diamond Caterers, we use organic agave nectar as often as honey.  We make a Tunisian Stew filled with aromatic spices, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans and currants as frequently as we make Tunisian Chicken.  We make Himalayan red rice salad filled with pecans, scallions, apple and dried cranberries as often as we make tarragon albacore tuna salad.  And while my paella can be filled with shellfish, sausage and rabbit, we also make a delicious vegan paella with sunchokes and exotic mushrooms.  

 

  

 

Next time, treat yourself well and order the vegan dish. 

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