When chef Michael Cimarusti opened Providence, the chic and celebrated L.A. seafood restaurant, he put on the menu the very best of the tunas: Bluefin.
Chefs worldwide admire bluefin tuna for its fatty flavor, ruby color and versatility. So do diners — the majority unaware that bluefin is on the verge of extinction. The end could come within 50 years, scientists say.
Legal action is slow, even in eco-conscious, activist-rich L.A. So some chefs have taken matters into their own hands. Cimarusti wiped bluefin off the menu not long after opening Providence in 2005.
“In the face of so much irrefutable science calling attention to its disappearance, how could I not?” he said. “No one is going to live or die if we can no longer harvest bluefin tuna.”
Cimarusti first encountered bluefin as a kid, when he visited Rhode Island with his grandfather to watch fishing tournaments. The creatures appeared stunning and majestic — just as they do to him now.
“Everybody needs to get to the point where they think of bluefin as being more than just sushi,” Cimarusti said.
Click play to hear Cimarusti’s comments.