The Smithsonian Presents Food Network Star Alton Brown in a Culinary Weekend Celebrating Sustainable Seafood

January 30, 2009
News Release
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The Smithsonian Associates, in cooperation with the National Museum of Natural History, will present a special culinary weekend hosted by Food Network star Alton Brown, Friday, March 20, through Saturday, March 21. The weekend will feature three separate events focusing on sustainable seafood: an evening reception with seafood tastings, morning panel discussions with science and culinary experts and a four-course luncheon prepared by some of the country’s top sustainable seafood chefs.

The weekend begins with the seafood tasting event Friday, March 20, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History. More than 25 of Washington’s best-known chefs will create seafood specialties for the evening, including Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora; Robert Weland, Poste Moderne Brasserie; Todd Gray, Equinox; Scott Drewno, The Source; Jeff Buben, Bistro Bis and Vidalia; and Anne Cashion, Johnny’s Half Shell. Many of the chefs will autograph cookbooks, available for purchase at the event from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The evening will feature a selection of sushi, East and West Coast oysters, wild salmon, blue crab, smoked trout, yellowfin tuna, shrimp and scallops paired with accompanying wines. Guests will have the opportunity to mingle with the chefs who created the evening’s fare and to shake hands with Brown.

On Saturday, March 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Brown will preside over two lively panel discussions on the topics of sustainability and consumer choices in Baird Auditorium in the National Museum of Natural History. One panel will feature experts on fishery science, conservation and aquaculture, including Michael Sutton, vice president and director of the Center for the Future of the Ocean at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; Steve Murawski, chief science advisor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service; and will be moderated by Carole Baldwin, curator of fishes, the National Museum of Natural History, and Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair for Marine Science, the National Museum of Natural History. A second panel on sustainability in the restaurant and home kitchen will include chef Jeff Black of Black Restaurant Group, Bob Kinkead of Kinkead’s restaurant and others, and will be moderated by Heidi Hanson, producer of “Chef A’ Field” and chef Barton Seaver of DC Central Kitchen. The audience will learn how to make informed choices about the seafood they consume in order to minimize their impact on the ocean environment. A selection of books by the morning’s speakers will be available for signing after the program.

A four-course luncheon prepared by some of the country’s top sustainable seafood chefs is set to follow the seminar. Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine; Susan Spicer of Bayona, Herbsaint and Cobalt restaurants in New Orleans; and Allen Susser of Chef Allen’s in Miami will join Brown in a lively conversation. Topics include the challenges of running a restaurant and the importance of buying, preparing and eating food that promotes the health of the environment.

Ticket prices for the tasting and book-signing event Friday, March 20, are $90 for general admission and $75 for Resident Associate members. Prices for the two panel discussions Saturday, March 21, are $75 for general admission and $60 for Resident Associate members. The luncheon on Saturday is sold out. For tickets and additional information, contact The Smithsonian Associates at (202) 633-3030 or visit

This event was made possible through the generous support of the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Whole Foods Market, The Rhone Rangers, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

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