Tickets Go on Sale Jan. 30 for Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Cooking for Solutions 2012” with All-Star Chefs

Guest enjoying wine at Cooking For Solutions gala. © Monterey Bay Aquarium photo by Randy Wilder

Renowned chefs from across North America will share their passion for fine dining and environmentally sustainable living when they’re honored at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Cooking for Solutions 2012” on May 18-20, 2012.

The aquarium’s 11th celebration of sustainable gourmet cuisine offers a full weekend of spectacular events: from a festive Friday night gala tasting with celebrity chefs, 75 restaurants and nearly 70 wineries and breweries, to a weekend of lively presentations by culinary TV celebrities, ocean-view breakfasts with celebrity chefs, and daylong programs and food adventures.

Tickets go on sale to aquarium members on January 30 and to the general public on February 13 and will be available online at www.cookingforsolutions.org, or by calling the aquarium at 866-963-9645.

The nonprofit aquarium and its acclaimed Seafood Watch program will honor Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room restaurant in Westport, CT as Chef of the Year for a commitment that has grown from a single restaurant created with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, into the nationwide Wholesome Wave – a foundation connecting low-income families with healthy, nutritious food from local farmers.

The aquarium welcomes as Special Celebrity Guests television all-stars Alton Brown and Alexandra Guarnaschelli of the Food Network, Carla Hall of ABC’s The Chew, chef, vintner and TV host Michael Chiarello and Rick Bayless, the nation’s foremost advocate of Mexican regional cuisine and a two-time honoree at Cooking for Solutions.

They and the other invited celebrity chefs have been selected and recognized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.montereybayaquarium.org) for their leadership in promoting practices that protect the health of the ocean and the soil.

Cooking for Solutions supports the aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, www.seafoodwatch.org, the nation’s leading source of information to help transform the seafood market in ways that preserve healthy ecosystems and sustain ocean wildlife.

The national lineup of 17 honored celebrity chefs who share the aquarium’s commitment to sustainably delicious cuisine includes:

  • Cooking for Solutions founding chef John Ash of Santa Rosa and host celebrity chef Cindy Pawlcyn, who shapes the culinary direction at the aquarium and at her three Napa Valley restaurants: Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and Brassica.
  • First-time honorees as Celebrity Chef Ambassadors – Sean Baker (Gather Restaurant, Berkeley); Clayton Chapman (The Grey Plume, Omaha, NE); Paula DaSilva (1500° at Eden Roc Renaissance, Miami Beach, FL); Ben Sargent (chef and host of the Cooking Channel’s Hook, Line & Dinner, Brooklyn, NY); Michael Schwartz (Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, FL); Becky Selengut (chef, instructor and author, Seattle, WA); and Sam Talbot (chef, restaurateur and author, New York City, NY).
  • Returning Special Guest Chefs – Floyd Cardoz (North End Grill, New York, NY); Sam Choy (Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Kailua-Kona, HI); Jesse Ziff Cool (Flea Street Café, Menlo Park); Kevin Gillespie (Woodfire Grill, Atlanta, GA); Charles Phan (The Slanted Door, San Francisco); Susan Spicer, (Bayona, New Orleans, LA); and Allen Susser (chef and author, Hollywood, FL).

The Friday-night gala on May 18 – the signature event at Cooking for Solutions and a sell-out every year – offers gourmet dishes from appetizers to desserts, created by the celebrity chefs, local host celebrity chefs and 75 exceptional regional restaurants. In addition, 60 premium vintners from California and the western U.S. will pour organic and sustainable wines.

Other highlights:

  • A Friday-night pre-gala special event with Michel Nischan and Rick Bayless (aquarium members only).
  • A Premium Access Lounge throughout the evening with live music, special treats and celebrity chef hosts (aquarium members only).
  • Saturday and Sunday daytime “Celebrity Chefs LIVE!” programs cooking demonstrations and book-signings by television celebrities Alton Brown, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Rick Bayless, Michael Chiarello and Cindy Pawlcyn; and intimate culinary “Salons” featuring tastings of premium California olive oil, artisan bacon and cheeses and gourmet chocolate; and tips on working with sustainable seafood and grass-fed beef.
  • Saturday culinary outings with celebrity chefs that range from visits to wineries in the highlands overlooking the Salinas Valley, to spectacular homes in the Carmel Highlands and ocean view destinations on the Big Sur coast.
  • Saturday evening’s exciting Sustainable Seafood Challenge, an “Iron Chef”-like event in which four Cooking for Solutions celebrity chefs prepare tasty seafood dishes from the same sustainable ingredients in a tournament-style kitchen set-up. A celebrity chef judging panel will recognize the chefs in four fun categories as The Chew’s Carla Hall provides lively commentary.
  • Two breakfasts: Saturday’s “Savor the Gulf Coast” buffet with chefs Allen Susser, Paula DaSilva, Michael Schwartz and Susan Spicer, plus live music with a Cajun flair; and Sunday’s “The Morning Chew” buffet with Carla Hall.
  • A weekend-long Sustainable Foods Celebration for all aquarium visitors, with tastings, talks and information, including the Whole Foods Market and Kids’ Zone, and Clover Stornetta Fun & Learning Area.

Tickets for Cooking for Solutions 2012 events go on sale January 30 for aquarium members and February 13 for the general public. They will be available online at www.cookingforsolutions.org, or by calling the Monterey Bay Aquarium toll-free at 866-963-9645.

The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans. To learn more, visit www.montereybayaquarium.org.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

 

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