I am calling you out Alton Brown. I want answers and explanations, to ascertain the rationale for your apparent double standard. I want to determine whether your convictions are sincere or not. Are you a true friend or foe to the bluefin tuna?
Alton Brown is an author and television personality, a host of a few Food Network shows. I have seen him most often on the Iron Chef and own one of his books. I had no previous issues with Alton, and thought he did a good job hosting, albeit sometimes he was a bit cheesy.
Last year, there were major boycotts and outrage, supported and initiated by Greenpeace, against the Nobu restaurants for serving bluefin tuna. Numerous celebrities came forward to support the boycott, calling for Nobu to stop serving the endangered fish. Alton Brown stepped up and stated he would not enter any restaurant that served bluefin.
Alton has been praised for his support of sustainable seafood, receiving the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 2009 Honored Educator of the Year. You can even read a recent interview with Alton about these issues. But how far does his advocacy go? Does it stop when it would adversely affect his income? Is his salary more important than saving the bluefin tuna? Is Alton engaged in a double standard?
I would never expect to see Alton working for Nobu. That would seem to be in direct opposition to his avid support of the bluefin. Yet it appears that Alton is working for a place that serves bluefin and that really bothers me. It seems to be a double standard, motivated purely by profit. Yet where is the public outrage? Alton Brown, you need to come forward and explain yourself.
Alton is a host on Iron Chef America, a show which I watch sporadically. The other night, during a recent battle between Chef Makoto Okuwa and Iron Chef Michael Symon, Chef Okuwa apparently served bluefin, otoro. How many other times have they used bluefin on the show? Why is Alton thus working for a show that permits the use of bluefin? Why is Alton financially benefiting from the exploitation of the bluefin?
I have not seen Alton take a stand against the use of bluefin by Iron Chef. I have not seen Greenpeace or the Monterey Bay Aquarium step forward and call for a boycott of Iron Chef until they stop using bluefin. Why is this so? Is Alton's outrage only when it does not interfere with his paycheck? I am sure the Iron Chef gig is very lucractive so does Alton not want to rock that boat? Where are his convictions?
If Alton is truly concerned about saving the endangered bluefin, then he should step forward and castigate the Iron Chef for its use. He should step down from his hosting gig until Iron Chef agrees to no longer use bluefin. Though I don't expect that will happen.
Some may say that Iron Chef America uses only a small amount of bluefin tuna so it is insignificant but it is the principle that matters. A man who publicly calls for restaurants to stop using bluefin should not be working for people who do use bluefin. Instead, he should be speaking out against that very place, as he speaks out about so many other places. He should remain true to his convictions, and not make exceptions where he is financially benefiting.
Alton, explain yourself. The bluefin deserve answers.