All Star Sustainability Summit at UCLA

As the LA Locals leader for Chefs Collaborative, I recently co-organized and MC'd one of the most challenging and fulfilling events of my career. In tandem with LA Times Food Bowl, we partnered up with UCLA and Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch for an incredibly riveting (and delicious) day of celebrating sustainability.

Our content was diverse and dynamic. Our speakers included top chefs, food professionals, ranchers, fishermen and university professors. Many of these folks are my heroes and include Pulitzer Prize Award Winning Food Critic Jonathan Gold (LA Times), Chef Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill Restaurants), Chef Neal Fraser (Redbird), Chef Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish), Chef Nyesha Joyce Arrington (Chefs For Human Rights Foundation), Chef David LeFevre (MB Post, Fishing With Dynamite, The Arthur J), Chef Christian Page (Cassell's Hamburgers, Hotel Normandie), Sheila Bowman & Matthew Beaudin (Monterey Bay Aquarium), Chef Michael Hung (Mama Lion), and no BS the list goes on! I also had the pleasure of meeting a very talented and passionate photographer named Carolina Korman who was so kind as tp provide me with the lovely photos in this post.

Our audience kicked ass and stayed attentive and enthusiastic for four hours of talks on subjects including grassfed beef, holistic ranching, humane treatment of humans in the restaurant industry, preserving our ocean's fisheries, and of course, the role that the consumer plays in cleaning up our filthy fucked up food system.

As my partner in crime Corie Brown likes to say, you'll never attend a Chefs Collaborative event that doesn't end with a kick ass party! Side note: Corie welcomed me to LA with open arms three years ago. She's a Chefs Collaborative board member and the mastermind behind this entire day., after it was all said and done, we threw a gangster food & beverage event with eats from all the top chefs that participated in our panel discussions, as well as some of my DTLA FAM including Brandon Parker & Dan Coury (Spread Mediterranean Kitchen) and Michelle Lainez (Chef Michelle & Company). 

My restaurant crew from Preux & Proper came through and held it down correct, and I gots to give them all a huge shout out: our manager Victoria Lane was the EP of the entire event and worked tirelessly for weeks to make sure this whole thing was executed to perfection, our bar manager Kassady Wiggins came correct with some killer craft cocktails, our Sommelier Sean Beckner-Carmitchel curated an incredible selection of sustainable wines, our bar back Eric Sebastian popped cold ones for guests while popping cold ones for himself, and two of my main kitchen dudes Javi and JL ran our food booth, putting it down on our infamous Beef Heart Pastrami Toast with Shaved Trinity, Lemon, Garlic Confit & Domingo Rojo Beans. Stay tuned cuz the CC LA Locals are just getting started!

Samuel Monsour