Celebrity Chef Rick Moonen Talks Sustainable Food in...Las Vegas?

After winning second place in Top Chef Masters 2, celebrity chef and seafood sustainability advocate, Rick Moonen, spoke with Eater about the movement toward a more sustainable menu in a city where most would least expect it -- Las Vegas. Moonen's flagship restaurant, rm seafood, is located in Sin City and he has an interesting take on the perception of being sustainable.

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Eater: So your interest in sustainable food—how does that get reconciled with Las Vegas, which is probably the least sustainable city in the world after Dubai?

Rick Moonen: The message is the same, no matter where you are. Sustainability, carbon footprint; they're different, you know. And I'm an hour out of LA, where there are great restaurants and great seafood product. It takes you two hours to get a piece of tuna from Long Island to New York City, but no one ever questions that, just because there's no water in the desert. Fact number two: Las Vegas is closer to more organic farms than LA. True. It's proximity. It's perception.

And I'm not sure if this is timing or if it's just a different mentality, but there's more chef support—people actually making menu changes and making a movement towards being more sustainable on their menu—in Vegas than when I was in New York for twenty five years. True. The chefs sort of listened, but they weren't motivated to take any action. You know, they'd sit there and listen to me and nod their heads but you look at their menu and: Chilean sea bass, red snapper, grouper, skate. I mean, what the? You don't know why.

You can check our Rick Moonen's full interview with Eater here.

Photo: Kelsey McNeal/Bravo


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