Michael Cimarusti, executive chef and co-owner of L.A.’s critically acclaimed Providence, has announced that the restaurant will be the pilot eatery for California’s first Restaurant Supported Fishery (RSF), Dock to Dish. Dock to Dish connects local fishermen (in this case, more than a dozen of them from Santa Barbara) to member restaurants, which receive weekly deliveries of fresh, wild-caught seafood. Dock to Dish also has outposts in Montauk, New York, and Key West, Florida. The concept is modeled after the land-based cooperatives known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
In addition to being recognized for his Michelin star, Cimarusti is famous for his dedication to sourcing sustainable seafood, which he believes can be done exclusively through wild-caught, not farming, methods. He says that with this new program, he will be serving more local seafood and less internationally imported seafood.
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Cimarusti explains that while the Dock to Dish program won’t necessarily lower the cost of fish for restaurants — or for diners — it “ensures sustainable sources. And that has value.” He says he hopes to “revive a traditional ‘know your fisherman’ culture, which has all but disappeared here over the past few decades.”
The West Coast pilot program initially will serve only Providence. Cimarusti plans to expand it to cover his other restaurants, Connie and Ted’s and soon-to-open seafood shop Cape Seafood & Provisions.
Cimarusti admits that the new way of doing things is a bit daunting. "We used to get on the phone at the end of the night and order exactly what we needed," he explains. Now they will receive a delivery of whatever has been caught by local fishermen. Asked how he feels about the new creative challenge, he tells the L.A. Weekly, "We are all excited."