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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Big Fish for Aquarium Food

She's had a string of successful restaurants to her credit, including Fog City Diner, Tra Vigne, Bix, Roti, Betelnut, Buckeye Roadhouse and, in Carmel, the Rio Grill.

She started Mustards Grill—and a resulting MG cookbook pulled in a James Beard award.

She's been a pioneer in demanding sourcing standards from the land to the sea.

And now she has a gig, given the Aquarium's arm length, where she can reach huge populations of people, and tons of chances to collaborate with fellow chefs to elevate their eating habits.

In short, Cindy Pawlcyn looks like a great fit, and a great catch, for the Aquarium.

“For 25 years, I have loved coming to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with family and friends," she says. "I am excited to bring sustainable, locally produced, farm-to-table foods to enhance the culinary experience of a larger audience, and I look forward to working with a new group of farmers, ranchers, fishermen, artisanal cheese and dairy producers, and purveyors from the Monterey Bay region.

“I am pleased to be partnering with [Aquarium food contractor] ARAMARK because of their commitment to delivering outstanding guest experiences, to providing healthy, satisfying food, sourced responsibly, using fresh, seasonal ingredients in the aquarium's cafĂ©, restaurant, and catering menus, and to the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch program.”

“We are very pleased to announce this new partnership,” adds Julie Packard, executive director of the aquarium. “Cindy Pawlcyn has an extraordinary reputation as a chef and an advocate for sustainable cuisine and Seafood Watch. We’re delighted that our daytime guests, and attendees at evening events, will be treated to dishes that reflect her culinary vision.”

More from the release:

• A pioneer in the development of Wine Country cuisine, Pawlcyn has earned accolades since she opened the first of her three Napa Valley restaurants more than 25 years ago. She is the chef behind the legendary Mustards Grill, which opened in 1983; Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen; and the West Coast seafood restaurant, Go Fish.

• She was a student at the Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris, she has a degree in restaurant management from the University of Wisconsin and is a two-time nominee for a James Beard Award as Best California Chef.