Last month, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program caused a stir when it downgraded American lobster, also known as Maine lobster, to its “red” rating over concerns its harvesting is negatively impacting other marine life. It’s the latest setback for an industry that has already overhauled its practices in the name of sustainability—but feds say it isn’t enough.
According to conservationists, lobster harvesting in Maine could potentially pose threats to the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale (there are fewer than 350 left in the world today), as the marine mammals can get caught in the fishing gear’s vertical ropes and drown. But, as Maine lobsterman Curt Brown says, “there have been zero documented entanglements of a right whale in Maine lobster gear since 2004.” Still, Seafood Watch is “taking an extremely precautionary approach,” explains Jack Cheney, an aquatic researcher and sustainable seafood consultant. Read more about the mounting controversy in my full story.
As the weather cools, I’m amped up for cozy indoor entertaining. Every dinner party needs a centerpiece for guests to gather ‘round—and my go-to is a cheese board that offers variety and a sense of place. For a California-inspired platter, cheese expert Stephanie Arsenault recommends stocking up on olives, kumquats, and passionfruit. Cheeselandia council member Sara Kim brings the spirit of Tex-Mex to her arrangements with queso Oaxaca, Tajin corn nuts, and conchas. And SAVEUR Editorial Director Kat Craddock reminds us about the importance of incorporating sweetness—one of her favorite cheeses boasts a cinnamon-rubbed rind. To craft the perfect board that’s as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the palate, check out more of our top tips here.
Senior Editor, Culture & Trends
It’s Megan here again, and I need to rave to you about a new condiment I recently got my hands on. This spicy mango chutney, the latest product from cookbook author Chitra Agrawal’s Indian American food brand Brooklyn Delhi, lends a sweet, zingy kick to everything it touches, from sandwiches to rice bowls to ice cream. I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping it on the table at mealtimes because I know it will more than likely pair well with whatever I happen to be eating. Even better, the chutney is a collaboration with single-origin spice importer Burlap & Barrel, which sources the heirloom Kashmiri chili peppers from a family operation in Kashmir.
Akmal Anuar, the chef behind the new Manhattan restaurant 53, was a firefighter before he entered the culinary world. “Everyone at the fire station knew I could cook, so I would fry snacks and rice for the team after drill sessions. As fires raged around the world this summer, I kept thinking about what an honor it was to have worked alongside those heroes in a past life. I think it’s important for all chefs, at every stage in their careers, to appreciate where they started and to remember the people who helped them build character along the way. If you wish to support firefighters, too, donate to Friends of Fighters. The organization provides free mental health counseling and wellness services to active and retired FDNY firefighters and their family members.”
As the weather cools, Tara Monsod, executive chef of the San Diego steakhouse ANIMAE, is getting ready to make pots and pots of chicken tinola. “It’s the Filipino version of chicken noodle soup, except it’s made with moringa leaves, green papaya, and ginger. It’s a staple in every household and the cure to every sickness. Every time I make a pot, I think about my mom. When I was nine years old, I came down with a bad case of bronchitis. I remember lying on the couch and watching her pour her love into a batch of chicken tinola. She was cooking it as fast as she could so that I could feel better as soon as possible. The dish was her way of nurturing and healing me through food.”
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