Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Say NO to Genetically Engineered Salmon

By Rick Moonen, Special to CNN
September 15, 2010 9:35 a.m. EDT

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) -- I am and always will be completely against any food that has been altered genetically for human consumption. And never, in the 30-plus years I have been a restaurant chef, has one customer requested a genetically modified organism for dinner.

This is why I was alarmed to learn early this month that the Food and Drug Administration announced with "reasonable certainty" that a new genetically modified Atlantic salmon awaiting approval posed "no harm" to humans who might soon have the opportunity to buy it and eat it as though it were a fish from nature. The announcement brings this "Frankenfish" one step closer to your table.

But make no mistake. The creation of this fish is just another tactic for big industry to make bigger, faster profits with no consideration for the impact it will have on our personal health and the health of our environment and ...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Football at RM Seafood

Starting Sunday September 12, 2010 RM Seafood will be kicking of Football with weekly specials.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

RECIPE: Shrimp Fra Diavolo - As seen this morning on

The dish will be offered as a special in the downstairs portion of RM Seafood July 15-31, priced at $32. Proceeds of the sale of this dish will benefit the Friends of the Fishermen Fund


I like Lobster Fra Diavolo so much that I had to adapt the recipe for shrimp. The sauce is enriched with shrimp stock to compensate for all the flavor you would otherwise get from the lobster shells.

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds extra-large (16-20 count) US wild caught Gulf Prawns in the shell

5 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups water

Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes (or one 26-ounce box Pomì Chopped Tomatoes)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

3/4 pound linguine

Shell the shrimp - leave the tails on - and refrigerate them. You want the shells for the stock.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the pan’s hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the shrimp shells and sauté until the shells turn red, about 1 minute. Add the wine and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the stock for 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the stock sit for 30 minutes for the flavor to deepen.

Line a strainer with cheesecloth, set the strainer over a bowl, and pour in the stock. Lift up the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze to make sure you extract all the liquid from the solids.

Heat a large (12-inch) skillet over high heat. When the pan’s hot, spoon in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season the shrimp with salt and white pepper and add to the pan. Sauté, stirring, until the shrimp are curled and pink but not quite cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the onions to the skillet, along with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté until the onions start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and crushed red pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Pour in the shrimp stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce to about 1/2 cup, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve any browned bits that may be there.

Add the tomatoes, season with salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the sauce is at an active simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the parsley, basil, and shrimp (with any juices in the bowl), cover, and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss well. Divide the pasta and shrimp among four large plates and serve right away.

Recipe from FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT by Rick Moonen & Roy Finamore, copyright @ 2008. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 27, 2010



On Wednesday June 23, 2010, Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood, inside Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nevada, hosted an evening with Top Chef Master Marcus Samuelsson. With Chef Rick Moonen as his sous chef, the two combined their talents in efforts to raise money for Three Square.

Three Square is a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding the hungry in Southern Nevada, where 48% of children in the Clark County School District receive free and reduced-price meals. Three Square organizes programs such as BackPack for Kids, Kids Cafe® and Summer Lunch League that make sure these children have food when they are not in school.

An Evening with Award Winning Chef Marcus Samuelsson was a complete success! Samuelsson and Moonen, from dinner to cookbooks to auctioned items, were able to exceed expectations and raise a total of $15,000 for Three Square. For every dollar raised is 3 meals served to hungry men, women and children in Southern Nevada, that’s 45,000 meals.

The evening started with a cooking demonstration by Samuelsson co-hosted by Moonen given to a sold out house of 110 excited guests. Followed by cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, cookbook signing and chance for guest to meet and take pictures with the chefs.

Once guest were comfortably seated in the dining room, Moonen introduced them to Julie Murray, President & CEO of Three Square. She presented to both Samuelsson and Moonen Gold Star Awards from the Three Square organization.

Moving on to the main event, Samuelsson and Moonen have prepared to amaze the guests with a 5-course tasting menu paired with wines & beer. Palates were treated to some of the most delectable dishes, starting with Buratta Mozzarella & Chilled Maine Lobster Salad, Marcus’ show winning Foie Gras Ganache, Homemade Orecchiette & Rabbit Confit, Moonen’s Smoked Arctic Char and finished off with a scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar with Dippin Dots; all in all a 5 star meal.

The night was finished off with a live auction hosted by none other than Robin Leach! Items auctioned ranged from a three night stay at Mandalay Bay, dinner for 8 at the chef’s table at First Food & Bar donated by Chef Sam “Sammy D” DeMarco, to a full week of working and training with Chef Moonen and his team at RM Seafood!

On behalf of Chef Rick Moonen, we would like to thank Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his team, Three Square and all of its supporters, the staff of RM Seafood, and last but not least each and every guest in attendance for making it all possible and an evening not to be forgotten.

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Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood
(702) 632-9300

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This is the story of a “shameless opportunist”

In response to the blog posted by Jay Raynor, attacking my integrity on the Bravo TV website, I have been given permission to respond and explain why I have taken exception to his manners as a critic on this subject. He admits to be the person responsible for making sure I was not awarded the title of Top chef masters and contradicts himself from that point on…here is a small portion of my life. I used to have respect for him but…

“I’m not a tree hugger.” I’m not that much of an extremist nor have I tied myself to a tree to prevent it from being chopped either. I went to school to become a chef. There was no celebrity attached to the profession in 1976 when I enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and I had no illusions of grandeur…never did. The biggest fear I had going into the CIA was public speaking…I swear! For the past 20 plus years, my career and lifestyle have been about being a responsible chef. Being a chef is complicated. When I first learned about the depleting population of the Swordfish while running the kitchen of the Water Club in the early 90’s, I thought, ok. I have noticed drastic changes in the size and quality of this majestic fish shrinking at the Fulton market; take swordfish off the list, no problem. Technology has outpaced the ability of the swordfish population and they just can’t keep up…now back to work Moonen…great. Then I was asked to became a spokesperson for the Give swordfish a Break campaign. I believed in it…so I did. Then I heard about this thing called by-catch, ok; now I have to take swordfish off the list and pay attention to how other species are caught and discarded by the ton…what a crazy waste of I need to pay attention to this insane practice as well. I wrap my mind around the notion of bycatch and move on…back into the kitchen making tasty food and keeping my costs in line. Next, I learn about the extreme methods of catching our seafood and the amount of habitat destruction going on as a direct result. In my mind it was like clear cutting a forest to gather a handful of deer for dinner (maybe a bad choice of example for this blog but you get the idea). I need to pay attention to overfishing, bycatch issues and NOW the amount of habitat destroyed in the method used to bring them to my kitchen…insane but OK…I need to embrace all of these issues if I was to hold true to my values…so I did. I used to think that farmed raised Atlantic salmon was the greatest thing since sliced white bread (another bad example…another blog). Perfect fish every time and my benchmark for salmon was this fish. I grew up in the North East, and that was what Friday night dinner was to me as a kid. Next I hear about this… the ecological impact of fish farming of certain species and realized that farmed salmon is not what I was tricked into believing. ..bummer! more stuff to deal with. Now I have to take swordfish off the list to help revitalize the population, pay attention to how & where the fish is caught, and if we are destroying where they need to breed and survive and now if the fish were irresponsibly farm raised. Being a chef became more and more complicated the more I learned and paid attention. I could have chosen to bury my head in the sand and keep my life simple…just be a chef and believe that if it was offered on the market that it was safe and clean and OK to serve. I knew that this was not the truth and I COULD NOT. My life and career would have been a lot easier if I just could have kept myself ignorant to what was going on around me but…NOOOOO… not my destiny! This has been my single subject focus for my entire career and I can’t escape the importance of preaching what I have realized over the length of my professional career. This is what I have worked my whole life for, following and advocating Sustainable Seafood. Our eco-system is a mess because we’re taking species out of it so fast they can’t sustain their continued existence. We are destroying the engine that drives the health of our existence…our world…our future. 71% of our globe is covered with ocean…we rely on it’s health…I can’t stop thinking about it. I love the ocean and the many creatures in it. I love to cook and eat seafood and I want to share that with people, but we can’t continue to enjoy what the ocean has to offer if we don’t understand it and respect it.

So my story, my mission statement, of being “the sustainable guy”, Jay got tired of it…accused me of having “craven attitude toward environmental issues.” Sorry Jay, it’s the only story I got! I didn’t want it in the first place. I just wanted to cook and be great at it someday. Not only did Jay get tired of it, he decided to attack my integrity. I do admit I didn’t have an answer whether the venison was flown in from New Zealand (and in retrospect, neither did Jay). I’m not too happy about being “gently questioned” about the transportation of the venison when he didn’t even know the truth himself; the meat was ocean freighted in, less of a “carbon footprint” than that of an airplane. Judge me on the facts, Jay, not what you perceive to be the truth. Do your research before you come down on me. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the means of production and the method of transportation are more important than the distance the good travels. Last year for example, the UK government agency DEFRA, , published results of life cycle analysis on produce imported from a number of countries compared to UK grown produce. For lamb, the results were clear, because New Zealand pastoral production uses less fertilizer (due to the more benign climate and natural soil fertility) and never needs to house animals, EVEN AFTER shipping to the UK had been included, and the carbon footprint of NZ lamb was lower than UK lamb.

My research on venison started many years ago when I was at Oceana. I was asked to be a judge in a cooking contest in New Zealand. While I was there I visited and stayed on a farm of Cervena with Graham Brown. The deer were raised on beautiful lush pastures where the animals were treated with respect. They were fed apples, not injected with hormones steroids or antibiotics. The slaughter house and facilities were super sanitary. I have gone hunting in my life and have always used every part of the deer for sharing meals with people I care about. You can’t serve wild venison in restaurants any more Jay. So I chose venison as my last dish in an exhausting cooking competition, the dish that defines me as a chef today, because of its sustainability to echo my mission statement “to respect the environment that we live in.” We are omnivours afterall…The chef I am today is not only the fish guy, but all those other guys I picked up along the way, and that showed in my dish. I chose venison. I knew the meat, I’ve worked with it many times before and I wanted to make a dish that was going to bring home the money to my charity.

Not only did Jay attack my integrity as a responsible chef he turns his nose up to the community I reside and work in, Las Vegas. There are many aspects to Las Vegas that make it a not so sustainable city, but doesn’t every big city? This is the place where we need to show change is possible and that there is hope. Las Vegas as a destination is not sustainable, but I have the opportunity to reach out to people from all over the globe that come here and visit. Also, just because we are in a high desert valley at the foothills of the Spring Mountains, which every winter provide plenty of snowfall for skiing, does not mean nothing grows here. Again, passing judgment on a subject you are not well versed in. If you are going to be a critic, criticize what you know. I live in a great community; I get my eggs and lots of produce from a local farm. And because of our proximity to California our access to their organic farms are actually closer to Vegas than they are to LA. Las Vegas is a great city; I’m honored to call it home and the surrounding communities my neighbors. Like I said, I have the opportunity to meet and share my life’s work with people from all over the world. I get to work next door to some of the greatest chef’s on this earth. I also get to work with a great charity that I have come to call family at Three Square. So say all the bad things you want about Las Vegas, it’s still not going to change the hearts and minds of the people that make this place so great.

Nonetheless, I’m going to keep cooking, thousands of people are going to hear my message, and many others will pick it up. I am not ashamed of who I am and what I stand for…

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Friday, June 11, 2010

RM Seafood to host TOP CHEF dinner!


June 10, 2010


Rivals on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef Masters’ Team Up to Cook for Charity June 23

LAS VEGAS – After knocking out 17 of the country’s best chefs on Bravo’s hit show Top Chef Masters, Rick Moonen and Marcus Samuelsson put fierce food competition aside to host an evening of cooking and collaboration at Moonen’s eponymous restaurant—rm seafood upstairs at Mandalay Bay. The evening will benefit the Three Square Food Bank, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending hunger in Southern Nevada.

The event will kick-off June 23 at 5 p.m. with a cooking demonstration from Samuelsson, with Chef Moonen gamely serving as his sous chef, followed by a reception of hors’ d'oeuvres and cocktails. The chefs will then team up for a five-course dinner showcasing their distinct culinary styles. Each will be responsible for alternate courses, while working together to harmonize their unique gastronomic perspectives and create a once-in-a-lifetime meal.

Guests not only will have the opportunity to interact with both chefs throughout the event but Samuelsson’s cookbook, New American Table, which was nominated for a 2010 James Beard Foundation Award, and Chef Moonen’s Fish Without a Doubt, also will be available for purchase and personalized autograph.

Tickets are priced at $125 per person (tax and gratuity not included). For reservations, please call (702) 632-9300 or email

About Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson is an award-winning chef, restaurateur and cookbook author. He was recently honored as a guest chef at the White House under the Obama Administration, where he planned and executed the administration’s first state dinner. Currently, he is developing the Red Rooster in Harlem. The restaurant will celebrate the roots of American cuisine in one of New York City’s liveliest and culturally rich neighborhoods.

About Rick Moonen

In the midst of the desert, Chef Rick Moonen has built a paragon of fine dining using the finest treasures from the sea. This James Beard Award winner’s multi-level restaurant at Mandalay Bay includes a 250-seat casual bistro and sushi bar and an 80-seat intimate fine dining room where guests can feast on pristine seafood in the middle of the desert. Moonen, who has appeared on Oprah, Top Chef Las Vegas and both seasons of Top Chef Masters ensures that every fish on his menu is caught or farmed in a way that isn’t harmful to the ocean or other creatures.

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Andrea Brown

MGM MIRAGE Public Relations

(702) 650-7534

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Moonen's BIG FIVE Theory

The way I see things (from my heart)…The state of the oceans according to Rick Moonen
The word sustainable is threatened and destined to be diluted towards meaningless rhetoric if big business has their way. Very much the same way organic has become a sound rather than a mentality. I have a tendency to poke my finger in the eye of mass industry mentality for several reasons and have a strong desire to shift the mentality of the mass market to battle the controlling influences of that big business propaganda. Seafood, or the acceptable biomass species we consume daily, is very narrow in my opinion. We know and target a minority of edible species and therefore place an unfair pressure upon those species causing dangerous futures of these exploited few. There are millions of seafood sources in the world and I believe that in the USA the population as a whole is only comfortable with choosing from the BIG FIVE”.

     Here is my argument…

Whenever we discuss the state of affairs in the ocean we only talk about the edible wild biomass or targeted species…that we deem acceptable for human consumption…very narrow-minded, I say, when there are millions available. Most consumers feel very confused and intimidated by seafood yet realize the need to consume larger quantities of seafood for their health. They grasp on to what they know which is…and these are broad categories…I know…Ladies and Gentlemen…Presenting the “BIG FIVE” finfish fanfare…soon to be extinct by 2048…yum yum yum, eat ‘em while you can…

Salmon…the number one selling finfish in the world
Tuna…canned or fresh… the meat of the aquatic world…no question
Cod…the reason that the Americas were established (see the book called Cod)
Snapper…a broad category and completely confused
Bass…the blanket name that all else is swept under around and through…

If these names do not appear on the menu then it is time to go to another section for that particular meal. I want to research and start to expose some more balance to the ocean world in regards to our eating habits. There has to be under-utilized species that have broad market appeal and it is my opinion that we need to let our minds expand and our plates with them. The first problem is the identification of some tasty species that suffer from bad names…Wreckfish from Florida, for example, is not attractive when considering what’s for dinner yet provides a delicious protein profile and in the right hands kicks butt on the plate. So what do you do???

Sea Cats or wolf fish, drumfish, wrass up the ass, cobia the species of its own, wahoo sounding more like fun than dinner, tautog or black fish, red fish, blue fish, green fish, yellow fish, orange fish, snapper this bass that…on and on and on and on.

Stop the madness!!!!

Time to go after the “Non Targeted Edible Wild Biomass” NTEWB (oh boy another acronym to add to the trillion already out there!!!) to create a better balance on the entire population down under the sea…I was having a discussion with the “big five” the other day and they feel collectively that it has been unfair of the humans to ignore the other guys and they want a break for a while to get back to reproducing and increasing their populations; back to where they used to be…thank you very much! And if you don’t mind, while you’re at it, stop destroying the most favorable living conditions as well so they can finally settle down in a nice neighborhood for a change. All the moving about has been a little exhausting…nuff said!

Patagonian toothfish morphs into Chilean seabass…Slimehead becomes Orange Roughy…bla bla bla. The root of this argument starts with vernacular and the origin of the name game seems to be from the salty dogs that were removing them from their hooks in the first place…more like suggested nicknames to converse with each other. Wreckfish is a far better name than “that grey long slimy fishy thing I caught today”…right? The fishermen weren’t thinking of marketing strategy when the names were being created. So the confusion thickens like a fish stew.

Let’s talk business for a minute. Discuss amongst yourselves how to make a living selling the most perishable inventory available…other than human body parts. If you were to be a seafood distributor and you only wanted to deal with fresh seafood you would lead a very high anxiety lifestyle; a constant game of hot potato or musical chairs. What would you stock your ice filled refrigerators with??? Well… I would only stock them with what I know would sell within the next 8 hours so I wouldn’t get caught holding the stinky fish sale items of tomorrow…right? That brings me back to the…you guessed it…the “BIG FIVE”…why chance anything else…unless…Chefs were asking for something completely different…the creative gatekeepers of the food world…that’s right folks. Right back at ya into the hands of the next generation of cuisiniers, cooks, fish flippin culinary students.
  • But how do they get the NTEWB’s in the first place to play around with?
  •  Howcan we prime the pump of supply and demand to shift things into a more fair balance of all that is happening under the sea???
  • How do we get a balanced inventory of super perishable stocks in the refrigerators of the world…?


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