Running a restaurant — with its routine of jam-packed days and stressful nights — is more than enough to keep most chefs busy.
A select few, though, summon the energy to reach beyond their kitchens and rally the industry around important issues. That’s exactly what Las Vegas Chef Rick Moonen does, when it comes to sustainable seafood and Gulf coast seafood, in particular.
As executive chef and owner of the multi-level restaurant Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Chef Moonen has brought unique flavors and seafood specialties to the West Coast since 2005.
After the BP oil spill, he turned up the heat, becoming an increasingly vocal supporter of Gulf fare and the fishing industry.
When recently invited to speak to some of Las Vegas’s leading chefs at MGM’s monthly meeting, he seized the opportunity to send a message.
“It was my chance to tell them that Gulf coast seafood is not only safe, but that we have to support it,” he explains. “And as far as showing our support goes — all we have to do is get creative.”
He proudly proclaims that most menu items at rm seafood are Gulf coast products. His latest entrepreneurial venture is also underpinned by Louisiana seafood: After appearing as a finalist on Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters, “I came up with a shrimp and catfish sausage,” he says, which he plans to sell in sports stadiums and supermarkets.
He has dedicated much of his career to supporting the environment and serving his critically acclaimed fare while being conscientious of the world’s oceans. And the national media has taken note: Chef Moonen has enjoyed stints on shows ranging from “Top Chef Masters” to “The Oprah
Speaking to his fellow chefs, Chef Moonen urged them to stay informed of the situation and learn all they could about the ongoing monitoring efforts.
“I urge you to read about it, learn about it and try to stay on top of it,” the MGM Resorts Momentum reports him saying. “I know it’s hard. We’re all very busy. But if we walk away from the Gulf, we’re only hurting ourselves.”