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Samuel Fromartz, author of Organic, Inc. and winner of City Paper‘s baguette competition, posted a piece on Huffington Post this week, soliciting professional advice on how Nobu Matsuhisa could resolve the escalating conflict over the sushi chef’s decision to continue selling bluefin tuna at his famous Nobu chain. If y’all haven’t heard, the bluefin breeding population could disappear by 2012 under current fishing practices.
So far, Nobu’s response has been merely to add an asterisk to its menus, describing bluefin as “environmentally challenged.”
Fromartz’s collection of experts has far better suggestions for Nobu. You can read some their tips after the jump.
Michael Sutton, director, Center for the Future of the Oceans:
But the mark of a real leader is foresight, the ability to consider the future impact of present-day decisions. And it doesn’t take much foresight to see that bluefin tuna is seriously depleted throughout its range and could become commercially extinct in the near future. Nobu therefore has a terrific opportunity to become recognized as the savior of the bluefin tuna rather than a principal factor in its demise.
Mark Bittman, cookbook author and New York Times columnist:
Nobu is both a “he” and an “it.” I don’t know if “he” or the organization makes these decisions. It’s very simple. He/it either cares about this issue or does not. From a culinary perspective, I agree that yellowfin tuna is not a real substitute. But there is a world of food out there, and good chefs can work around hardships like this. If enough do, maybe bluefin will come back as a commercially viable species. If not – in short order, no one will be eating it, not even Nobu’s customers. Surely this is understandable.
Michael Ruhlman, author, cook, blogger:
But I believe it is a chef’s duty to care for the earth and the source of his or her food. He ignores it at his own peril. If I were Nobu, I would not serve it and urge others not to. His example would be powerful. Also he’s a chef, he should be able to make great food out of my lawn. Why does he need any one single fish to keep his business afloat? Surely he can use his wits and talent to create extraordinary food without relying on the diminishing supply of wild bluefin.
But bluefin has not always been the king of the menu. Chefs like Nobu had to convince guests to try it. “And you want me to eat that raw?” was most likely the initial response. If chefs like Nobu could vault bluefin to its star status, then certainly they can use their talent to introduce guests to a substitute. Kate Winslet has said Nobu’s ‘food is like sex on a plate’. That is pretty good praise. Nobu clearly has the talent and credibility to shape tastes globally. It is time for him to do so with a delicious and sustainable solution.