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Monterey Bay Aquarium: Cooking for Solutions, 2004

by Sally Bernstein

Jacques Pepin and Alice Waters
Celebrity Chefs Celebrate Sustainable Cuisine

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 21-22, 2004. This was the third annual event and Jacques Pepin and Alice Waters were this year's celebrity chefs. They were joined by 13 other renowned chefs from around the country who educated the attendees about environmentally sustainable living, and in particular, seafoods.

Cooking for Solutions 2004 supports the aquariums Seafood Watch program--connecting consumer choices with the health of ocean wildlife. The mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean.

Highlights included a reception with the honorees (pictured top of page) and the Friday night gala with sustainable seafood dishes, organic cuisine and sustainable/organic wines. There were celebrity chefs cooking demonstrations, farm and winery tours with the chefs and a sustainable seafood information fair.

The five Farm & Vineyard Tours were:

1) Earthbound Farm/Heller Estate Winery
2) Arroyo Seco Ranch/ Jekel Vineyards
3) Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Experience
4) Seafood Experience (Monterey Bay Abalone Company)
5) Big Sur Experience

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 guides are available for: National, West Coast Regional and Southeast.

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 over fished.

While in Monterey I stayed at the Portola Plaza Hotel in Monterey, just a short walk from the Aquarium. The Portola Plaza Hotel is a full service hotel in downtown Monterey, close to shopping, the Tuesday Farmers' Market and Fisherman's Wharf. Call 831.649.4511 for reservations.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940

Cooking for Solutions 2005 event dates are Friday & Saturday, May 20st-21nd.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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