Monday, March 22, 2010

Go Green or Go Home!!!

Well, today marks historic in the life of Chef Rick Moonen. It was announced that I have made it as a finalist in the James Beard Foundation 2010 Awards…Category: Best Chef Southwest…and it feels awesome! I mean it…almost surreal. I had to touch the screen of my computer to make sure that I was one of the five chefs chosen to go to New York to hear the actual winner in this region. I feel that, no matter what, I have won because the honor of getting this far is…well…awesome!

Some history needs to be explained first… as this awesome feeling is mixed with multiple layers of emotion…in the reality show of “this is your life”.  I have, for the past 25 years of my professional career, been focused on spreading the word of responsible decision making when chefs are making menu selections. After all, we are the gatekeepers, the trend setters of consumables and influence millions of purchasing decisions around the world…no small responsibility. Well the world has finally realized a tipping point of mentality towards the environment…great. Extremely big deal…

About time!

I have taken a lot of heat for being so outspoken, passionate and focused on a subject that seemed so contrary to the profession. We sell food for a living…why would I be so driven to talk about what we should be avoiding? Because I care from the most inner voice that keeps me up at night…that’s why…it always made sense to me.

I was in New York for 30 plus years of my career…including the formative years at La Cote Basque, Le Cirque and Le Relais…lots of La’s!! I have been awarded reviews as follows…off the top of my head

New York Times…2 stars
Chelsea Central…2 stars
Water Club…3 stars Oceana (twice)…3 stars
Molyvos…3 stars Restaurant rm
Daily News…3 stars
New York Post…3 stars
Forbes Business Magazine…4 stars (three times)

This is the first time that I have been nominated for a James Beard Award…in my life…

Stoked…emotional…overwhelmed…confused…appreciative…nervous…e-motional…I could just cry. It isn’t like I don’t want to win the award…I do…it just feels so damn great to finally get the approval and recognition from the foundation that I have been involved with for so many years…finally.

I feel like the kid that has been trying to get the recognition from his dad for being a strong batter. Sure the stats show that I am a great batter but when is dad going to tell me that? Well dad just did! I need to go to my room now and sob.
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


  1. There's no check box for "well deserved"!!! Congratulations Chef, you are a winner with me!!

  2. Congrats!! What a sweet moment. We're all rooting for you.

  3. Congratulations Rick! Well deserved - Bravo! We are rooting for you!
    - Your 'Better Fish' friends at Australis

  4. Fantastic news! Now I'm going to have to buy a ticket for the event! Virginia and I have fond memories of the two wedding anniversaries we enjoyed at Water Club. Memories of CCC are also good as well as the soft opening of RM in NYC... Cheers from Peter and Virginia!

  5. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your emotional thoughts on this great acknowledgment. When will the results be in? We'll be in Vegas to dine at RM Seafood on 4/17; we'd love to buy you a congratulatory drink.

  6. Thank you all! The news and congratulations have been overwhelming to say the least. Come May 3rd we shall know the JBF winners.

    Keep your finger's crossed