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San Diego Chefs' New Cookbook Celebrates Seafood

November 19, 2014 1:22 p.m.

San Diego Chefs' New Cookbook Celebrates Seafood


Bernard Guillas, is the executive chef at the Marine Room in La Jolla.

Ron Oliver, is a teacher of food literacy and he's Chef de Cuisine at the Marine Room.

Related Story: San Diego Chefs' New Cookbook Celebrates Seafood


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

San Diego Chefs’ New Cookbook Celebrates Seafood.

TOM FUDGE: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Tom Fudge.

Holiday meals are a celebration of traditional food. That typically means

turkey, ham or some beef roast but maybe you are fishing for some new ideas.

How about some fish? There is a picturesque new book out that presents seafood

in new ways. And it has just been published by two of San Diego's favorite

chefs. It is called, the book, that is, ''Two Chefs, One Catch, A Culinary

Exploration of seafood.'' My guests this hour are the authors of that book.

Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver. Bernard, did I say your last name correctly?

BERNARD GUILLAS: Oh, your French is perfect.

TOM FUDGE: Okay great. Bernard is the executive chef at the Marine Room

in La Jolla. A frequent guest on Midday Edition. Chef Bernard, thank you very


BERNARD GUILLAS: It's always a pleasure to be here.

TOM FUDGE: And Ron Oliver is a teacher of food literacy. And he's Chef

de Cuisine at the Marine Room. Chef Ron, thank you.

RON OLIVER: Thank you so much.

TOM FUDGE: Well this isn't the time of year that people think a lot about

serving fish. Chef Bernard, give us an idea of what kind of seafood dish would

be festive for the holidays.

BERNARD GUILLAS: Well, I would say that with the chill in the air, I

would say a nice monkfish wrapped with heirloom bacon serve it with some stewed

beans, for example, with a glass of pinot noir, of course, would be just


TOM FUDGE: When it comes to fish, since you raised the subject of wine, I

mean the cliche is that with fish you drink white wine. But with that monk

fish it sounds like you prefer pinot noir.

BERNARD GUILLAS: Yeah. And the reason for that is because you have the

bacon and the smokiness is a perfect blend. And that fish, you know, monkfish,

it has the amazing flavor of I would say a lobster and the texture is about the

same. And it's really fantastic. Actually, it is on our menu at the Marine

Room right now. So it's just gorgeous for the holiday season.

TOM FUDGE: Chef Ron, if you were to talk about a fish that people don't

know that much about that you think is really terrific, what would be your


RON OLIVER: Well, there is one that we catch here that people don't

really realize is wahoo. And we have a recipe in the book that is called ono,

because wahoo has the name of ono in Hawaii. They named it ono because that

means delicious. So it is a beautiful fish. That texture is amazing. It is

buttery and you can do so many things with it.

TOM FUDGE: And it's a tuna, right?

RON OLIVER: It is not a tuna, but similar in texture. And also that you

can overcook. So it is great for sushi or sashimi preparation, and also

lightly seared.

TOM FUDGE: Well, we are talking about sort of making fish dinners around

the holidays but it could be in the summer or any time of year. But Chef

Bernard, is this a time of year when there is a lot of fresh fish available? I

ask this because I come here from Minnesota where you had to be an ice

fisherman in order to get fresh fish during the winter.

BERNARD GUILLAS: Well, when you look at San Diego, you have that body of

ocean which is warm right now. So ono is available. Yellowtail is running.

We have sea bass. We have beautiful muscles who are actually farm raised here

in Carlsbad as well as oysters. So there is a lot of seafood around us. Now

talking about the uni, actually, there is so much uni in san Diego that most of

that uni is shipped in Japan because the quality is so high. So it is really


TOM FUDGE: Now, Chef Bernard, you and Ron wrote a very popular book,

another book with recipes from around the world. I think it was called,

''Flying Pans?''

BERNARD GUILLAS: ''Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World.'' And it was about

our travel to about 45 countries. And what we realized is for our second book

traveling around the world usually add an aspect of water. We were close to

the ocean all the time. And all of those bodies of water are very, very

different. And the cultures are very different as well. So the approach when

it comes to seafood is quite amazing and quite unique.

TOM FUDGE: And I suppose that is why you decided to do a book about

seafood because it is so unique. Ron?

RON OLIVER: One thing that we do when we travel, what we both do in

common is visit the markets. And there is no greater market than a seafood

market. Especially in that crisp early morning when you are traveling say

around Europe or Asia, they are just bustling with life. And you get energized

by the people moving around and by the fish coming in from the boats. It's

really inspiring. So a lot of our recipes are based on those experiences.

TOM FUDGE: Well, we have a caller with a question. Let's hear from Cathy

in San Diego. Go ahead. You're on with -- oh, I guess I am mistaken. We

don't have Cathy in San Diego. So I will continue with a question of my own.

But Cathy, if you're out there, give us a call.

Chef Bernard since this is a book for people who are going to be cooking

or grilling their own fish and unlike you, they are not professional cooks,

what is the tricky thing about fish?

BERNARD GUILLAS: Well, first of all, you have to make sure that you have

the right quality of fish. So fish selection is very, very important. But

when it comes to cooking, you have to make sure that you slightly undercook all

your fish. So they retain all the moisture. They don't get dry. And at the

same time you are also able to keep all the nutrient into that beautiful


But what we did and because our first book was about traveling the world

and it something that we self-published. On this one, Rowman Publishing is the

company who told us, hey, you can do anything you want when it comes to any of

the recipes. Only one catch, no pun intended, which was it has to be simple

ingredient, simple recipe to do, and nutritious, and at the same time 20

minutes to prepare. So like this everybody can really enjoy the preparation of


TOM FUDGE: Chef Ron, would you agree with that, the biggest problem a lot

of people have is overdoing the fish?

RON OLIVER: What you need to do is one simple trick. Change your

mindset. Be afraid to overcook instead of afraid to undercook. And that will

be the slight difference between making a fish that is beautiful and maybe a

little bit over.

TOM FUDGE: You know, fish is probably the most efficient way for nature

to generate animal protein. So it's environmentally correct in that way. Beef

is the least efficient. What about the health of eating seafood; is it

healthier than eating other meats, Bernard?

BERNARD GUILLAS: Yeah, actually in my opinion it is because you have so

much different nutrient into that protein. So this is why, for example, if you

open the cookbook, you will see that we have done something a little bit

different that we called valuable nutrient for clams. For example has copper

iron, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, Vitamin B, zinc. And then

you go, wow, I'm going to be healthy now. It is all about that balance that

those nutrients that you get. The thing is when it comes to the seafood

itself, in my opinion if you can get that seafood into that medium rare or that

raw stage, you really are going to retain all of that. To make sure that you

are able to use those proteins, they have to be super, super, super fresh.

TOM FUDGE: You know there was a time with pork where we were afraid if it

was going to be underdone because you might get trichinosis but that was back

in the days when farmers were feeding garbage to their pigs. Maybe that is not

a problem these days. But Chef Ron, what about fish? Is there any danger in

undercooking them?

RON OLIVER: You bring up a good point. That's what I tell people a lot

of time, is don't be afraid to undercook your fish because you can eat it raw.

So having it medium rare is just one step away from that. So a lot of people

think if I undercook it, I might get sick. But no, that's not the case, you

can slice it raw and eat it, but you have to make sure that you get your fish

from a good source.

BERNARD GUILLAS: There is a thing that you have to still be very careful.

Some fish can carry parasites, for example. So you have to be very, very

cautious with that. So it is really important that you develop a good

relationship with your fishmonger and you really do the research of where that

fish is coming from. And some of the fish can have high level of mercury,

especially big fish.

For example, if you have a tuna, it is a young tuna, a small tuna, most

likely the level of mercury will not be that high. But if you have a tuna that

is 600 pounds, those big boys they really can carry a lot of those toxins. So

you have to be very, very cautious.

TOM FUDGE: Chef Ron, any follow up to that?

RON OLIVER: What we say in the book is eat big fish seldom. And eat

little fish often. And that's keeping a good balance.

TOM FUDGE: What about you were mentioning the possibility, Chef Bernard,

of parasites in the fish. Is there any way to know whether you have a fish

that might be a problem? Chef Ron?

RON OLIVER: There is really no way to know. But when you do buy fish

that say is sashimi style, it usually means it's been frozen for a certain

period of time. And that kills the parasites.

TOM FUDGE: And sashimi style is that raw?

RON OLIVER: It's raw.

TOM FUDGE: That's what you mean by that.

RON OLIVER: But the preparation that they use, the producers they freeze

it so it kills the parasites.

BERNARD GUILLAS: All sushi houses or most of them I would say, use that

technique. So like this you really kill the parasites. So when you are

buying, for example, a fresh tuna from the boat, this is where you have to be

very cautious. There is one little trick that you can look at. When you are

buying that beautiful steak of tuna, if there is a soft spot in it, in the

flesh, most likely there is a parasite. Those are the things that you have to

watch. But these days with FDA, we have all of the safeguards that there is.

We are pretty safe with seafood.

TOM FUDGE: Well, my guest during this part of Midday are Bernard Guillas

and Ron Oliver. Bernard is the Executive Chef at the Marine Room in La Jolla.

He's a frequent guest on Midday. And Ron Oliver is a teacher of food literacy.

And he is Chef de Cuisine at the Marine Room. You know Ron Oliver I said it a

couple of times. I think it is in your resume, that you're a teacher of food

literacy. What is that exactly?

RON OLIVER: Well, that's kind of a fancy way of saying I can work with

kids and kind of engage them in the culinary arts. You would be really

surprised, I went back to a high school yesterday to judge a cooking

competition and I was blown away at the kitchen they have in the high school.

And also a demo kitchen. I just dreamed about that stuff when I was a kid.

And now it is becoming real. So I want to be a part of that. Get kids

engaged. Those kids will be our customers in the future. So it is nice to see

really a focus. And the kids when they are cooking, and I ask them a lot of

questions they have such reasoning behind what they are doing. So the level of

culinary arts in the younger kids today is really a lot higher than it used to

BERNARD GUILLAS: And I feel like one of the reason for that also is there

is much more information available via internet. For example, when I grew up,

well the internet was at a baby stage. It was like 40 years ago. There was no

computer in my bedroom. But over here now, you have computer everywhere. So

when you want to search about ingredient and search about different cuisine and

culture, it is very easy to gather that information and have a very, I would

say really good crop of culinarian growing in San Diego, which is really


TOM FUDGE: Chef Ron, you know I think we got a little recipe from Chef

Bernard, he was talking about the monkfish. Is there a recipe that you would

like to talk about that you think is really special?

RON OLIVER: One of my favorite recipes in the book is the clams crudo.

This recipe is so easy to do. It's kind of a ceviche. People don't really

think of clams when they think of ceviche. But clams are so great because they

have a beautiful texture when they are raw. So we got this recipe inspired

from a place in Spain where they harvest a lot of clams. But clams are also

local to the area over here. So this is real easy. Open the clam. Chop up

the meat. Mix it with the ingredients. And the cool thing is you serve it

back inside the clam shell. And the clam shells from the region here are so

nice because they have purplish color on them.

TOM FUDGE: From coastal San Diego?

RON OLIVER: Yeah from coastal San Diego, and also prevalent in Baja. So

it's a beautiful presentation.

TOM FUDGE: And you know, I think that clam recipe is on our website, So people can look at it right there.


TOM FUDGE: This really is a beautiful book. It has many beautiful

photographs. Why are the photographs important?

BERNARD GUILLAS: Well, you know behind every great book or every great

man there is an amazing photographer. This photographer is Marshall Williams,

a good friend of ours. When we started to write the book we were asked to

select a photographer. And Marshall decided to come on board. And it's been

really an amazing journey. Why it's important that you have beautiful

photography is because you eat from the pages. You look at that page and say,

mmm, I am hungry. You look at the recipe and you go, yeah, I can do it. So

now you can really, really enjoy the whole journey.

The platform for the book is to make sure that we give great information

about everyone about our oceans. And living in San Diego and pretty much being

born in the ocean and always by the ocean it is important that we chefs and

everybody who is listening today remember that we have to be great caretakers

of our ocean for future generations. Because this is what life is all about.

We pass it on from generation to generations.

TOM FUDGE: And maybe a related question, Ron, farmed fish, do you have an

opinion about that either environmentally or in a culinary way? I mean do you

have a preference for wild or farmed does it make no difference.

RON OLIVER: Well, farmed fish is a big topic. And there's a lot of focus

on farmed versus wild these day. But I think we need to change the

conversation from responsible or irresponsible. Because both farmed and wild

fish are harvested in responsible ways and also irresponsible ways. And it is

a notion of information that you have to wade through to make the right

choices. But the consumers who want to make good choices, they have to do some

of the research.

TOM FUDGE: Well, we are just about out of time. But I do want to

mention, Bernard, that you have a book launch on November 29th at Macy's School

of Cooking at 12:00 o'clock; is that right?

BERNARD GUILLAS: Yes, indeed. Ron and I will be there. I've been

teaching at Macy's in Mission Valley or a long time. And we will have a book

signing there. And we will do a little cooking demonstration. That will be a

lot of fun. And if you want to buy a book, or at Warwicks. But the

thing I wanted to bring up is that the book is really cool because it really

takes you from one part of the world to another. And when you read that book,

you will have a wonderful time.

TOM FUDGE: All right. Well the book is called, ''One Catch, a Culinary

Exploration of Seafood.'' it's written by two chefs at the Marine Room in La

Jolla, Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver. Bernard, thank you very much.

BERNARD GUILLAS: Always a pleasure.

TOM FUDGE: And Ron, thanks to you.

RON OLIVER: It was fun, thank you.