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San Diego Chefs' New Cookbook Celebrates Seafood

"Two Chefs, One Catch: A Culinary Exploration of Seafood" is a new cookbook by Chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver of the Marine Room.
"Two Chefs, One Catch: A Culinary Exploration of Seafood" is a new cookbook by Chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver of the Marine Room.
San Diego Chefs' New Cookbook Celebrates Seafood
San Diego Chefs' New Cookbook Celebrates Seafood GUESTS: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.

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 much. 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 fantastic. 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 favorite? 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 fantastic. 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 protein. 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 seafood. 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 fantastic. 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. BERNARD GUILLAS: You bet. 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.

Holiday meals are a celebration of traditional food. That typically means turkey, ham, or some beef roast.

But maybe you're fishing for some new ideas. So how about some fish?

There's a picturesque new book out, that presents seafood in new ways. It has just been published by two of San Diego's favorite chefs.


It's called, "Two Chefs, One Catch: A Culinary Exploration of Seafood."

Here's sneak peek of one of the recipes from the book:

Cíes Islands Clam Crudo

Chorizo, Pumpkin Seeds

Makes 12


16 cherrystone clams, scrubbed, rinsed

3/4 cup orange juice

1 small hot red chile, stemmed, seeded, minced

3 tablespoons minced red onion

3/4 cup finely diced tomatillos

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

to taste sea salt

to taste ground black pepper

Using a thick towel, grip clam in palm of hand with hinged side of clam facing outward. Hold pointed clam knife in other hand. Keeping clam level, insert the tip of knife between the shell halves at the hinge. Twist to pry shell apart until you hear a snap. Twist knife to open shell. Cut clams out of shell and into a bowl with their juice. Save 12 of the best shell halves. Refrigerate shells. Remove the clams from juice. Discard any shell fragments. Cut into small pieces. Transfer to mixing bowl. Strain 3 tablespoons clam juice into bowl. Fold in remaining ingredients. Season to taste. Refrigerate 3 hours.


2 ounces Spanish chorizo

3 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

Cut chorizo into thin slices. Cut slices into fine matchsticks. Spoon the crudo into clam shells. Garnish with chorizo. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.