Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let Me Introduce Myself

I love to cook mostly because I love food. Food is my favorite topic and cooking falls somewhere under that. And while I could have dedicated my days on this planet to something else, something nobler, I’ve always known that food is important. I am fascinated, almost spellbound, by this human necessity, thoughts of which have been known to haunt my dreams.

Which brings us to cooking, the chance to play with and create some great food. I love to cook… it’s what fuels me. I’ve done it in professional kitchens for about 35 years. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, I lived the cook’s life of “Oui Chef!” in French kitchens. They were putting out the best food in New York City at the time and I took in as much as I possibly could. Scorching hot cast irons, seasoning like a shotgun, smoking oil, then FLAMES! Cooking thrilled me – the kitchens invigorated me and the food we created made me proud. I suppose this is where I really learned to cook, experiences that laid the base to my future enterprises as an executive chef and owner.

Some of the most fun I had cooking was off the four burners in my friend Roy’s New York City apartment when we were tweaking recipes for our book, "Fish Without a Doubt." I especially enjoyed getting through our shopping list, searching the aisles for cherished ingredients like day boat scallops and Long Island Sound oysters. Since then, I have been traveling the country on a book tour, which quite often includes discussion groups, seminars, or cooking demonstrations. I’m trying to get the word out about fish, about eco-friendly fish in particular, and how easy it is to prepare tasty, healthy meals with only a few ingredients.

In the culinary industry and beyond, I am perhaps best known as a seafood chef, but I swear this was not my plan. I know my approach towards selecting and cooking great seafood dishes extends to other areas of the animal and plant kingdoms as well. I do especially appreciate the simple subtleties involved in selecting and cooking seafood though, so I choose to work with it more than many other ingredients. And fish is delicious, don’t forget that. But wild fish is at risk due to heavy fishing pressure, mismanagement, piracy, and waste disposal. We’re in danger of losing our planet’s last wild food source (in as few as two generations!) if the current practices continue. I hope this site can help steer you in the direction towards eco-friendly fish.

My site is intended to be informative and fun. Right now, we have cooking demonstration videos, seafood stories, an upcoming events calendar, information on my Las Vegas restaurant, RM Seafood, and on "Fish Without a Doubt," and much more to come. We’ll be posting recipes and cooking tips and I’ll be blogging the whole way along. I encourage you to drop me an email or, better yet, visit my restaurant and I’ll meet you at your table!


  1. Hello Mr. Moonen,
    I am seventeen years old and an aspiring chef. I recently saw you compete on top chef and wanted to learn more about you
    and congratulate you on doing so well. After viewing the show I wanted to learn more about you and ask you some questions. Like, what is you culinary background? And what inspired you to become a chef? Also I wanted to ask you some questions pertaining to myself such as, Are there any cook books you recommend an aspiring chef to have? Are there any culinary schools you recommend and if so which ones?? And do you have any advice for a young chef??
    Thanks a lot for you time and hoping to hear from you soon.

  2. Hi Rick-
    I grew up in Queens, too. (Rego Park- back in the 60's) I now live in the amazing Northwest. I had the pleasure of catching your Yukon King show on PBS, and frantically wrote down what I could for your delicious smoked tea salmon with cucumber salad and horseradish creme fraiche. I'm trying to find ingredient proportions, but alas, I will have to wing it! In the meantime, I'll keep an eye on your blog, and if- if you ever get to Lummi Island, Washington, I know where you can get the best reefnet caught sockeye in the world...

    (There is also another Queens ex-pat here who makes the most beautiful wood furniture you've ever seen... and we are still Mets fans.)

  3. Hi Nina,
    So glad you had a chance to see the Chef's A Field on PBS. It was an awesome experience. As for proportions for recipes, I have similar recipes in my cookbook FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT Also, I think you will find many other cool and delicious recipes in there.
    Enjoy the Ocean one fish at a time!