Sustainable Cuisine Greenwashing – Again

Recently, I wrote a piece for Eat.Drink.Better about culinary greenwashing, titled Just Add Eco-Friendly Detergent and Rinse. Just when you thought it was safe to good back in the water again, I’ve found another prime example of a local, independent restaurant with the nerve to manipulate us.

I’m off to LA in a few weeks and thought I might check out the newest, the hippest, the in, the now. A little research via the web and a conversation with a few acquaintances netted me a just opened spot that according to the chef and their website:

…the menu will feature some of the finest local, organic ingredients, and sustainably farmed meats.


…we depend the on our relationship with farmers and fishermen in the Los Angeles/Southern California area.

Now add to that its chef is the son of a famous San Francisco chef and the place is owned by the Pussycat Dolls. What could be wrong?

A short perusal of their menu finds:

  • Montana Paddlefish Roe
  • Maine Hake
  • Maine Blue Fin Tuna

(Bluefin is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch AVOID list due to being severely overfished and fishing gear used to catch them entangle sea turtles, seabirds and sharks and endanger their populations. Additionally, the Environmental Defense Fund issued a health advisory for bluefin tuna due to elevated levels of mercury.)

  • Lobster (east coast)
  • Hawaiian Hearts of Palm
  • Florida Frog Legs
  • Copper River Sockeye Salmon
  • Virginia Wild Striped Bass
  • Colorado Lamb
  • Japanese Wagyu Beef
  • Prime Texas Beef

Is it me? Am I the only one missing the local part? Again, the mainstream press and even the blogosphere, (Eater LA especially), missed its chance step-up and call a flag on the play.

As Leslie Brenner of the LA Times wrote in Reach for the Green on April 26, 2007, “Some things I can forgive, but one thing I can’t is taking advantage of diners’ sense of environmental consciousness in trying to make a buck.” Doing what you can do on the sustainability front is admirable, claiming more is disgraceful.

Shame, Shame!

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