After the wonderful, thought-provoking cooking demonstrations at the Cooking for Solutions event, I wandered into the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As part of the weekend's events, there was a Sustainable Foods Information Fair inside the Aquarium and out on the deck overlooking Monterey Bay. Aquarium-goers were treated to a variety of booths, talks, and cooking demonstrations by some outstanding chefs, including Rick Moonen, Jesse Ziff Cool, and Sam Choy, all of whom are leaders in the local and sustainable foods movement.
I wandered out to the deck, where there were a number of tents set up by Whole Foods Market, and a Viking cooking station and grill for the demos. Chef Rick Moonen of RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas was getting ready to start his demo, and joked around with the crowd. Chef Moonen is a featured chef on Top Chef Masters, where established, world-renowned chefs compete for the title of "Top Chef Master."
Moonen recently released a new cookbook called Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion, the product of four years of work applying his culinary expertise to making preparing seafood at home less daunting for the average cook. He was passionate about seafood, sustainability, and the debt that people owe to the oceans. I bought a copy of the book, since my husband recently converted to a semi-vegetarian to lower his cholesterol levels. I've never been particularly good at cooking fish, but I aim to try it out. The recipes look fantastic, and hopefully I will get over my fear of fish with this book.
Chef Moonen, like the three chefs I saw in the morning, was an engaging, charming speaker with a passion for his craft. He prepared a grilled salmon with a homemade barbecue sauce that we all got to try, that was just delicious. His secret weapon? Clam juice, which he claims could "cover up a multitude of sins" in the kitchen.