Chef Michael Cimarusti Discusses The Sustainable Use Of Seafood - Exclusive

At his restaurant Providence LA, Chef Michael Cimarusti serves up sustainable and innovative seafood dishes. This resilient restaurant recently celebrated its 17th anniversary, proving its influence as one of the most legendary fine-dining establishments in Los Angeles. "It's a testament to the team that we've built here in the front of the house and in the kitchen," Cimarusti said. "It's also due to the fact that we keep trying to reinvent ourselves slowly and gradually, and we try not to let things get stale. [We're] always changing, always evolving, and I still believe — and my partners do too — that our best work is in front of us."

In addition to Providence LA, Cimarusti also owns the West Hollywood seafood hotspot Connie and Ted's. During an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Chef Cimarusti discussed the challenges of navigating an ever-changing climate and even shared some stellar cooking tips and tricks. That said, if you're looking to be more sustainable when cooking seafood at home, Cimarusti has you covered.

The difficulties are in remaining sustainable

Between climate change and resources that are running low, remaining a sustainable seafood restaurant is more difficult than ever. There are plenty of challenges to overcome. But through persistence and innovation, Chef Michael Cimarusti is determined to ride the waves and adjust when necessary in order to prioritize the well-being of our planet.

"The world keeps changing, and 17 years ago when we first started this, climate change was a concern — but now we're starting to see the real-time effects of climate change and how they affect fisheries and how they affect our oceans," explained Cimarusti. "A sustainable fishery [is] an important thing, but the overarching effects that climate change has on our environment are starting to complicate things even further." 

In order be remain as eco-friendly as possible, Chef Cimarusti's biggest tip is to buy local when possible, especially if you are lucky enough to live near the coast. But he shared that being sustainable with seafood is possible even if you don't have easy access to a coastline.

Tips and tricks for sustainability

In addition to sourcing locally, having solid relationships with fishermen and suppliers also helps tremendously at both Providence LA and Connie and Ted's. "We always try to do our best to stay local whenever possible, to do business with people that we have good, strong relationships with — people that supply us with fish that's sustainable," explained Michael Cimarusti. "We try to fill a menu that is entirely sustainable, and we don't use any farm-raised fish. We do use lots of farm-raised, zero-input shellfish, like mussels and clams and oysters and things like that. But when it comes to fish, it's only wild."

When it comes to enjoying sustainable seafood at home, Cimarusti's biggest tip is to know what is abundant where you live and when. "The answer to it depends upon where you live," Cimarusti told us. "Here in Southern California, a fish that I'd be looking for here would be ... During king salmon season here in California, I'd be looking for that. When we're not in salmon season, I'd be looking for things like rockfish."

Providence LA is open for dining Tuesday through Saturday.