18 September 2009

Check out "Teach a Chef to Fish" on Sept 28, 2009

I haven't been particularly active on sustainability issues (though I'm learning), but I can plug worthy events on the subject by other folks who are, like this upcoming roundtable on seafood sustainability aimed at professional chefs:

Teach a Chef to Fish: A Roundtable on Seafood Sustainability for Industry Professionals
Monday, September 28, 2009, 3pm to 5pm
Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel, 3 Battery Wharf, Boston, MA
Cost: $50 (50% of proceeds to benefit the New England Aquarium)

Fact: Almost 90% of diners say they want restaurants to serve only sustainable seafood, but nearly 75% are unaware which fish are close to extinction.

The Teach a Chef to Fish roundtable will be a "roll up your sleeves and learn" session. Attendees will hear from a panel, get introduced to a new state-of-the-art sourcing service, and learn how to redo seafood recipes to include on their own menus just in time for October's National Seafood Month.

Event highlights:
  • The Fairmont Hotel will open with their story of how the resort chain began to integrate sustainability into their practices 20 years ago, and how the Battery Wharf property in Boston decided to remove bluefin tuna and Chilean sea bass from their menus.
  • Attendees will hear about sustainable aquaculture from the example of Australis Barramundi, "The Better Fish". Not all aquaculture is problematic. Attendees will learn why and how this fish is an example of a sustainable aquaculture.
  • The New England Aquarium will share insights from its sustainable sourcing initiatives and give examples of what innovative companies are doing to help busy culinary professionals adopt sustainable seafood sourcing practices.
  • Attendees will learn about new tools like "Green Chefs, Blue Ocean", a joint venture between the Blue Ocean Institute and the Chefs Collaborative; review their seven-part online tutorial; and walk through their new sourcing service, FishChoice. Now in live field testing, FishChoice aims to give culinary professionals real-time information about sourcing sustainable seafood from a large database of purveyors, many of them already-familiar names. Chefs will have the rare opportunity to shape the service by offering feedback.
  • Attendees will gain insights into workable solutions for offering the sustainable seafood that diners prefer. Participants will then work together using the new tools to apply their creativity to redo existing recipes, working through actual menu items to take the first steps toward more sustainable menus.
Presenters include chefs from top restaurants in Boston, MA and RI. Attendees will receive sponsors discounts and materials in a USB flash drive to take away.

Register here via PayPal

Please contact the event organizer with any questions:

Jacqueline Church
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/LDGourmet
Teach a Man to Fish!

13 September 2009

"Feeding Celine": my guest post in The Leather District Gourmet blog

I just contributed a guest post to my friend Jacqueline Church's very fine Boston food/drink blog The Leather District Gourmet. It's called Feeding Celine -- Eating Well on an Engineer's Student's Budget, and it's basically more advice to incoming college students on dining out in Boston, much like my recent blog essay Wear Sunscreen in the Restaurant, or, Words of Advice for Hungry Young People.

Feeding Celine adds specific recommendations on cheap-eats dishes and venues within a short distance (a few T stops) of M.I.T., where a young friend just matriculated.

Be sure to check out Church's other blogs, notably Pig Tales & Fish Friends, on sustainability issues.

02 September 2009

Wear Sunscreen in the Restaurant, or, Words of Advice for Hungry Young People

Allston Christmas
Photo courtesy of The Boston Herald
Here are a few dining-out tips for you kids who've just arrived in the Hub of the Universe to start school, from a longtime chaser of the high life who's lived in Boston forever -- like, since before PlayStation II, when the Internets were all 110 baud (don’t Google that now, pay attention):
  • Get the hell out. Boston is no New York City, but it’s still a pretty great restaurant town, in part because you students support some excellent cheap-to-moderate places. But you'll still have to duck the many miserable ones aimed at the sorry philistines among you. If you have the iota of adventurousness necessary to rise above a life of mediocre food, you'll have to occasionally get on your bike or the subway or the bus to visit places like Chinatown, East Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, East Cambridge, East Somerville, and Allston. If you get off your ass, you can eat fantastic food for your entire four or five or twelve years here. Don’t blow this opportunity by settling for so-so burgers, pizza, and burritos. Example: check out the Super 88 Market at the corner of Commonwealth Ave and Brighton Ave in Allston. Its ten-stall food court offers phenomenal cheap eats from China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and India. It’s a low-risk, incredibly tasty way to start exploring. 
  • Don’t overlook old media. While you still can, take advantage of professional restaurant reviews in publications like the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and The Improper Bostonian, where I currently serve as professional restaurant critic and food/drinks feature writer. 
  • Check out local bloggers and social media. In addition to the MC Slim JB blog, Boston has many useful food and drink blogs -- start with my WORTHY BLOGS / LINKS section on the lower left -- and unlike this one, most have attractive photos, video clips, and illustrations. Hundreds of Boston restaurants, bars, food retailers, and the writers who cover them are now on Twitter and Facebook: you'll quickly figure out which ones are worth following/friending and which are annoying, one-note self-promoters. Two helpful primers on my blog include an intro to Boston's craft cocktail scene and a humorous look at the Phantom Gourmet, a cheesy local TV show that reviews Boston restaurants (sort of).
  • Try to observe some of our quaint, Colonial-era dining customs. Take off your baseball cap in the dining room, don’t spend the entire meal blabbing or texting on your phone, limit your public drunkenness to the pre-projectile-vomiting stage, learn how to tip properly, curb the public displays of affection, and consider that other patrons might not find your bare armpits, navel, or toes an appetizing sight, especially at swankier venues. I won’t tell you to sit up straight, but you really should do that, too.
So welcome to Boston, kids: it’s a wonderful place to eat, and we’re really glad to have you here. Now get off my lawn.