Local restaurants vie for Top Dish at Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Competition

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sustainable-seafood-0153On Tuesday, the Aquarium of the Pacific held a Sustainable Seafood Cooking Competition to launch the inauguration of its Seafood for the Future program. (see the full photo gallery below)

Several outstanding local chefs and their teams, including Michael Poompan of Long Beach Renaissance Hotel, Brian Casey of Savor, Arthur Gonzalez of McKenna’s on the Bay, and Christopher Krajack of Walt’s Wharf, participated in the event which required them to create a culinary sensation in only 20 minutes using the sustainable Alaskan Halibut.

Judges for the competition were Executive Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence Restaurant, Radio Personality John Rabe of KPCC 89.3, and Robert Haskell, senior VP of public affairs, Pacific Life Insurance Company.

Much like the Iron Chef TV show, the three judges sampled all of the dishes and cast their votes. Stating that all of the dishes were remarkable and praising each chef for various aspects of their dishes, the panel felt that one dish had incorporated all that they were looking for in the competition and awarded Top Dish to McKenna’s By The Bay.

The Top Dish cooking competition was a creative way to kick off a new program that encourages local restaurants and diners to make sustainable food choices.

Aquarium of the Pacific President and CEO Dr. Jerry Schubel introduced the Seafood for the Future program and spoke of the need to make better choices when selecting seafood. He described the over consumption of some species and the strange practice that allows many local species to be exported to other countries rather than being consumed locally. Independent knowledge as to how and where ones choice of seafood, was raised or caught, and impact on the environment is imperative for the future of the many species we consume.

The Seafood for the Future program is an effort to create an awareness and partnership between consumers and restaurants as to the sustainability of seafood items being purchased. Participating restaurants identify selections with the Seafood for the Future logo on their menus next to dishes that qualify as sustainable choices allowing consumers to easily make informed decisions. Those purchasing dishes with the logo will also receive a free ticket to the Aquarium of The Pacific.

In Long Beach The Seafood for the Future logo is currently featured at: Nino’s Italian Restaurant, Parker’s Lighthouse, Renaissance Long Beach, and catering company Primal Alchemy. Consumers can also find featured sustainable seafood dishes at the following Seafood for the Future partner restaurants: McKenna’s on the Bay, and The Queen Mary, Long Beach Seafood Co. is one of a few participating seafood distributors .

For more info on The Seafood For The Future Program, partners, and participating restaurants go to www.seafoodforthefuture.org.


2 Responses to “Local restaurants vie for Top Dish at Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Competition”
  1. Excellent article and pics! That should be Chef Chris Krajacic of Walt’s Wharf, whose seafood is to die for. -DA

  2. Ellison Tavico says:

    Actually glad to see other aquariums are doing the same thing. The New England Aquarium has a program called “Celebrate Seafood” which is a three dish live cooking demonstrations every so month with a local leading chef as a guest demonstrator. Now a cooking competition is a very interesting idea to have.