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Chefs and Ocean Conservation

August 12, 2011

This week I heard Barton Seaver speak at the Center for American Progress.  A very inspiring and smart speaker.  So I thought I’d highlight this interview with him at Grist.  He makes a great point that chefs can be very effective communicators of the conservation message.

Here he talks about his role:

[C]hefs, I think, for too long have been relied upon to carry the science of sustainable fishing, which is not a chef’s expertise. Many chefs aren’t comfortable in the communicator role. Most chefs are not marine biologists. I don’t understand exactly how ecosystems work. I’m just giving it my best shot, trying to reiterate and translate science into the lexicon of dinner. What chefs can really do is sell the human story: Hey, these fishermen are trying to do the right thing, they’re trying to engage the next generation, so their children might be able to follow in their footsteps, might be able to keep this community a working waterfront.

A favorite anecdote comes to mind on the role of chefs.  Did you know that monkfish was considered a trash fish until Julia Childe introduced it to the American public on her cooking show?   This is from the introduction of a book by Michael Weber called From Abundance to Scarcity.

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