This week has been hugely anticipated -- by the members of Cooks Confab, by the participants in the events they're putting on this week, and by those of us interested in sustainable seafood.
Last night was the highly successful Fish! Facts. Held at Fibonacci's Campus Point Bistro by Waters near UCSD, the sold-out event allowed guests to sample delicious sustainable seafood dishes prepared by Cooks Confab members and guest chefs like Matt Gordon of Urban Solace and Bernard Guillas of the Marine Room. Then we listened to a fascinating talk by coral reef expert Nancy Knowlton, the Smithsonian's Sant Chair for Marine Science and wife of marine ecologist Jeremy Jackson, who was featured after her presentation in a short video with Andrew Spurgin. Following the Jackson interview we saw a shortened version of the documentary, The End of the Line, a truly disturbing presentation of the state of our oceans -- and, let's be honest, humanity's short-sighted greed.
On Sunday, we have two events: Fish! Forum and the Cooks Confab Fish! Dinner at 1500 Ocean at the Hotel del Coronado. The Forum is a panel discussion that I'm actually taking part in. The non-partisan, multi-media organization Passionfish is hosting what will be an engaging and educational forum on the urgent issue of seafood and ocean sustainability. It takes place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Hotel Del. My fellow panelists will include Tommy Gomes of Catalina Offshore Products; Kristin Goodrich, Board Member, Slow Food Urban San Diego; Martin Alberto Hall, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission; Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D., executive director of the Birch Aquarium; Don Kent, President of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute; Logan Kock, vice president at Santa Monica Seafood; Carl Rebstock, Executive Director of Passionfish.org (and our moderator); Robin Siegle, Esq., Director of the Business Center at the National Conflict Resolution Center; and Andrew Spurgin, Exec. Director/Chef of Waters Fine Catering.
This is a free public event and there will be time for an audience Q&A. Following the forum at 6 p.m. will be the Cooks Confab Fish! Dinner, hosted by chef Brian Sinnott of 1500 Ocean. And, it's sold out!
Now, I'm cramming hard so I'll be able to keep up with seafood and ocean experts who have been focused on this for decades. Makes you wonder why I was invited to participate, right? Well, the reason is that I wrote a just-published piece for Edible San Diego on the topic and spoke with some of these folks and many others in the field while doing my research. So, think of me as the voice of the confused consumer. Because this is a complicated and often confusing, even contradictory topic. For those of us who are trying to do the right thing, it can be confounding. Pick up the latest issue of Edible San Diego -- the one with the big fish on the cover -- and take a look. I've tried to address much of the confusion and was able to get some useful tips from the experts on how to be a conscientious consumer.