The BP Oil Spill is now responsible for the closure of slightly more than 22 percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico's "exclusive economic zone" according to the NOAA Fisheries Service. The map above represents the most recent closure data.
Monday, we surveyed local toques at a meeting of the Chef's Club about their thoughts on the spill and how it could affect their sourcing, budgets, and menus. Here's what they had to say.
Chef Chad Galiano - Trump International Beach Resort - Louisiana Native
"I know about oil. My dad and brother worked those rigs seven [months] on, seven off all my life. Let's not forget 11 workers died that day and that we need to respect and acknowledge that. Oil and the bayou go together in Louisiana. You go back behind my grandma's house and oil and fish have always intermingled. Go on a boat through there and you'll see all kinds of old equipment and trash. That's the water I drank my whole life. You never seen water like that; delicate but strong. It's going to bounce back. It could be we're fucking up all the food, and there might be some kids born with three eyes, that's still unknown, but it's not like we weren't fucking everything up already."
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Chef Jeff O'Neill - Gibraltar on Grove Isle - Talking While Working
"It's starting to affect us already. Oyster and Pompano prices are through the roof."
Chef Josh Wahler - Working on Opening New Barbeque Restaurant near Palmetto Bay
"It's a major dilemma because you don't wanna sacrifice quality...Ever. So, to be able to put the quality product on the table do you source from a lesser known area cause you don't wanna associate your product with the oil spill, or are you willing to pay an arm and a leg? It's a tough position, but as a chef you have to make choices like whether to buy Mexican white shrimp. You can still get em', but they're being cost out. Do you want to pay for lobster and eat shrimp? You have to find the next most amazing product."
Chef Sean Bernal - Oceanaire Seafood Room - Born and Raised in the County of Dade
"We're gonna be forced into looking at farmed species. There are a lot of advancements in aquaculture. Go out to Key Biscayne, that's where all the farm raised cobia come from. In the wild, we might have to kiss stone crabs good bye. Soft shell crab, Florida lobster, it's screwed up. It's time for the government to crack the whip. It affects the fishermen, the consumer, the chef, but nature has a way of cleansing itself, so, only time will tell. I just pray to god the oil doesn't hit the Keys. The reef is one of the most valuable resources we have."