5@5 - Chef Rick Moonen
July 29th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

You may recognize the above gentleman as Chef Rick Moonen, owner and executive chef of RM Seafood in Las Vegas, author of "Fish Without a Doubt" and more recently, the runner-up on season two of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters."

A vocal advocate for sustainable fishing and seafood, Moonen has a "Big Five Theory" - essentially saying restaurants in the United States typically serve only five groups of fish: tuna, bass, snapper, cod and salmon. Keeping up with this belief, Moonen provides some seafood substitutions in order to give the "Big Five" a break.

5 Fish That Deserve a Break: Rick Moonen

1. Instead of salmon, try Arctic char.
"It’s very similar in taste and texture to salmon – in fact, at RM Seafood, my chefs and I refer to it as salmon light."

2. Instead of tuna, try wild-caught swordfish.
"About ten years ago, I was part of a chefs' movement called 'Give Swordfish a Break.' They were being overfished and the species was dying off. Thanks to these efforts, many chefs did indeed give the fish a break and it’s rebounded - and, when sourced sustainably, it's one of the tastiest fish out there.

3. Instead of cod, try Pacific halibut.
"The meat of these fish is typically firm and flaky and has a sweet taste. The flesh should be white in color, but as with all fish, it shouldn’t be overcooked."

4. Instead of snapper try mackerel.
"Mackerel is a very versatile fish that just tastes great. I love it simply roasted with some lemon juice and fresh herbs."

5. If at a restaurant and the menu says "bass," ask your server what type of bass it is.
"Black bass, striped bass and sea bass (wreckfish) are all O.K. to eat just so long as they were sustainably sourced. If the server doesn’t know then ask to speak with the chef. If the chef doesn’t know, then definitely don’t order the bass. In fact, if the chef doesn’t know where his or her fish is coming from, you might want to simply get up and leave."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below, and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Celebrity Chefs • Rick Moonen • Think

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soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Deathmetal Chef

    I propose turning vegans into our next sustainable food source. Humans have evolved both flat teeth for grinding plant matter, and sharp incisors for tearing flesh. The reason? We're supposed to eat plants AND other animals. By not eating meat you are depriving your body of necessary nutrients. Eat all the tofu and celery you want, it's no substitute for meat. Any reputable nutritionist will agree. Everything in moderation, people....

    August 2, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  2. William Wall

    "...if the chef doesn’t know where his or her fish is coming from, you might want to simply get up and leave."

    Tough love! But sends a very strong message!


    August 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  3. tony

    I love vegetarians! More of them means more meat for me to eat. I could care less if they want to play Dr. Phil to Ol'Bessie or Porky. That said, I don't like how a majority of them are raised crowded in pens. One day we'll fix that. In the mean time, PASS DA RIBS!!!

    July 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • Mark

      Pass da cancer, diabetes, an da heart disease!!

      July 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  4. JerryCLT

    I asked the cashier at McDonalds what kind of fish was in my fish sandwich. He just looked at me like a cow looks at a new gate!

    July 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  5. atlfood

    Chef Jesse Perez should be interviewed! Currently at Fuego at The Maya. Named Best Latino Chef in America.

    July 30, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  6. Poppy

    I like long pig

    July 30, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  7. bid dan

    I belong to PETA – People Eating Tasty Animals

    GO MEAT!!!

    July 30, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  8. Crusty biker

    I am a Biker We eat icecream

    July 30, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  9. william

    One cow feeds dozens of humans but you need dozens of vegetables to feed just one human. So who is destroying more life?

    July 30, 2010 at 6:43 am |
  10. jessica

    plus humans really don't need to eat as much meat as we do currently. we get by jsut fine with only eating it a few times a week, opposed to everysingle day, mulitple times a day. granted, i am not veggitaian by any means, but my food budget says i had to make a cut some where, so i make smart choices about my meat. I only eat meat about three times a week, and it satisfies the want for meat, while staying within a tight budget.

    July 30, 2010 at 3:22 am |
  11. Bizzle

    Let's be real...animals taste hella good. I love eating burgers, chicken wings, steak, filet o fish, sea creatures, land mammals and the like. I love animals they're delicious. Vegetables are delicious too, but you have to eat them with meat.

    July 30, 2010 at 2:58 am |
    • Mark

      Everything that tastes good ain't good for you. Think about that when your 65, have cancer or heart disease FROM THE ANIMALS YOU ATE!

      July 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  12. Annexian

    This is good advice.

    The best solution to any problem is to prevent said problem from occurring in the first place. Simply put, if we fish and fish and fish until species collapse, we'll not have that dish again in our lifetimes. (outside of F*cking raising the fish in a private aquarium, want to do THAT!?) On the other hand the UN, the EPA, the other conservation groups can put up "Red Flags" and then have competent chefs re-direct the "Human Appetite" to a different dish. And if we are really addicted to something specific, we could just ethically dine by special order and paying a little extra for "Re-fishing" efforts.

    Frankly, it's like Foie Gras. In man's "Anytime, anywhere" attitude it's a high suffering and very sick/miserable food. On the other hand, wait till fall and just provide semi-free (wings clipped but can run around) ducks with ample food in addition to their forage options. They'll naturally stuff themselves far stronger than any sadist with a pump would, but expertly so they don't injure themselves. Then when you harvest them their liver will be a tiny bit smaller but SO much richer, like garden vine tomatoes versus big ag industrial hothouse ones. And you won't just have a sick liver in a duck they likely throw away, it'll be a super fat healthy duck, perfect for family holiday feasts, as a package or sold seperately.

    July 30, 2010 at 2:40 am |
  13. David

    Attention Vegans and vegetarians; my food poops on your food.

    July 30, 2010 at 2:24 am |
    • Mark

      News for you man, it ain't your food! If we follow your logic though.....
      Let's see, your food poops on my food, therefore there is poop on the plant your food eats. Next thing your food eats the plant. Oh dear me, the animal just ate poop!!! You eat the animal. Oh gosh gee, you JUST ATE POOP. GET WITH IT MAN! Go vegan for your health, for the animals and for the planet!

      July 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  14. Dave

    Soylent Green!

    July 30, 2010 at 2:04 am |
  15. scott

    Really, cause I can appreciate people feel the way they do and don't eat meats, fine, But I can guarantee that if that He or She was out in the woods lost and wondering,,,and he was starving and he came across a deer that he or she could possibly kill and have for breakfast,lunch and dinner for a day or two, they would be sharping their spike, because if the deer was actually a Bear,Lion,Tiger etc.. and while my He or She wasn't looking that ETC... would tear them up and eat them and spit out their bones out, and I wouldn't blame it....cause eating nothing but berries and leaves or maybe a piece of fish now and then sucks, and that Bear or tiger or lion, or knows that...

    July 30, 2010 at 1:37 am |
    • Mark

      Well if there is a deer, it means that there is sufficient vegetation around to support that deer. Well then we can eat what the deer eats. What would YOU do if there was no more animal products to eat? You should read up on your HUMAN HISTORY because HUMANS used to eat NOTHING but plants, no problem! I live in Korea. A hundred years ago, Koreans ate virtually NOTHING BUT plants, no problem. Now they are eating huge amounts of meats, dairy products, and eggs, and their life expectancy is going DOWN! That's right, when a country gets richer and eats more animal products, cancer, heart disease, etc GO UP and people DIE SOONER on average.

      July 30, 2010 at 1:45 am |
      • jessica

        if we had a chambered stomach like that cows, or other wildlife, we could eat what the deer eat, however, i digestive track are simply not stronge enough to withstand such roughage.

        July 30, 2010 at 3:17 am |
      • Mark

        What are you talking about?? Humans can digest nearly all plants (except for the poison ones) if they are prepared properly.

        July 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  16. Antonio Intal

    The Top 3 choices are hard to find if you are located outside of Manhattan. On top of that, paying a premium for the quality is a burden as well if you have a family of 5. Good products are hard to find once you leave the city, especially in most parts of the bronx, queens and brooklyn. This article is speaking to who? The 30 yr old that has a disposable income?

    July 30, 2010 at 12:50 am |
  17. Matthew

    Don't you people understand that this planet has plenty of room for all God's creatures . . . right there on the plate between the salad and the mashed potatoes!

    July 30, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  18. Mark

    The oceans and ALL fish are full of mercury! Why would anyone want to eat ANY mercury, a DEADLY poison that can have very profound effects on the brain and nervous system. PLEASE GO VEGAN FOR YOURSELF, THE PLANET, AND OF COURSE THE ANIMALS!!!!

    July 29, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  19. Xanthoula

    You are a jerk!

    July 29, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  20. Soylent Green...

    The solution is not to eat organic... it's to eat inorganic! "No Carbon for You!"

    July 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  21. Shelly Rewinkle

    Brian Laird of Barollo Grill in Denver should definitely be in the hot seat! He has opinions like no other on food and most anything else.

    July 29, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  22. Jcdetroit

    He's right! If your chef does not know where the food comes from GET OUT OF THERE !!!!

    July 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  23. Ben

    Linda McCartney said that she did not "eat anything with a face". She died at age 56. So much for "vegetarianism".

    July 29, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
  24. bobzilla

    I'm a level 9 veggie..I only drink water!!!!!!!!!1

    July 29, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
    • Sweetenedtea

      That's nothing. I'm a level 13 vegan - I allow plants to take bites out of me for sustenance.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  25. Meaty Portion

    Steve just trolled the hell out of this article.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  26. audio_girrl

    Reading these posts is like observing a social experiment. Humans can be so wonderfully ridiculous!

    July 29, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
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