Get Fresh with Brian Malarkey

Brian Malarkey wants the old format back ... and schools you on sustainable fish.

on Oct 22, 2009

This episode was all about sustainability, and I am a huge fan of Rick Moonen and all that he's does for the movement. As a seafood chef, I follow the guidelines, except I still have to wean myself off of Yellowfin, Bigeye, and most importantly, Bluefin Tuna!

We will discuss our healthy alternatives and the correct approach to the proper care of our ocean and seas.  But first, let's talk about Restaurant Wars and how we might try to save it for the future, so that our loved ones and family members can enjoy watching talented chefs create great and awful restaurants, melt down, freak out, cry, laugh, and do the impossible by building, opening, and operating a restaurant in a matter of hours.

Congratulations to Michael and the Revolt team for their win, and to Tom for saying it was the best food he has ever had in six seasons of Restaurant Wars. Note that he did not say the best restaurant he had been into in six seasons, because they did not build the restaurant. They borrowed a fully equipped and operational restaurant that allowed them the time and energy to focus on the food.  Speaking for myself and a whole bunch of Top Chef alums, “You had it EASY!” This was like shooting fish in a barrel!   sustainable fish that is!  We had to go to Pier 1 and buy our plates, flatware,and glasses, then pair wines, and create the entire look and feel of the restaurant. We had to pick out our linen, and the worst of it all, we had catering servers who knew nothing about fine or even casual dining! We did all of this while half our team prepared a bigger menu then you had!

So Tom and the rest of you at Bravo and Top Chef, "you replaced our Bluefin with Tilapia and I still have a bad taste in my mouth!" The show is called Top Chef and not Top Cook or Top Scallop (love you Fabio!), and chefs are the full package and not just great cooks. They have to put it all together, Michael showed the gumption for this and that is why he won, but I would have loved to see what he could have done with a lot more on his plate, like a real restaurant WAR!

Breathe! Now let's talk about how we can Get Fresh and stay fresh while eating responsibly so that future generations can enjoy the bounty of the ocean. Rick Moonen handed out the cards made by the Monterrey Aquarium that list fish to stay away from, which fish are in danger, and which fish are strong and being managed properly. The basics are: The Russians and the Chinese are destroying our seas because they catch everything and throw out what they don’t need, killing the masses.

We have done tremendous damage to our waterways also, but we are trying to correct our wrongs. The most impressive fisheries on the planet are in Alaska. They do a great job of limiting catches of king crab, snow crab, halibut, salmon, and Jen’s trout — black cod, also called sablefish. It’s important to be knowledgeable about what you are eating, but don’t be the fool who comes to our restaurants and tries to educate all of your friends that we shouldn’t be serving sea bass because it is endangered. You are of course confusing your Chilean Sea bass with the infinite number of sea bass that are properly managed. Don’t try and turn your friends on to Atlantic farm-raised Salmon over wild caught because farmed fish sounds more sustainable, when in fact the Atlantic Farmed Salmon has caused innumerable problems to the indigenous fish of the Atlantic by polluting the local water ways.

The best way to get the right answers is to find a chef who you trust or the local fishmonger (butcher) and ask them, do your research because it is your responsibility to your planet, your family, and your friends. Seafood is the ultimate "Healthy"; it’s the final frontier of wild food and we need to cherish it! Get involved and Stay Fresh!