Chef Barton Seaver
Barton Seaver's resume reads more like a classic adventure novel than the average chef. Seaver has been at the helm of some of Washington, DC's most acclaimed restaurants. He brought the idea of sustainable seafood to DC in an award-winning setting at Hook restaurant in Georgetown. Later, he opened Blue Ridge restaurant where Seaver continued his streak garnering recognition from acclaimed food writer John Mariani as Esquire magazine's 2009 'Chef of the Year.'
Seaver has been lauded as a leader in sustainability by Seafood Choices Alliance. He was recently named a Fellow with the Blue Ocean Institute, in order to help link the environmental community with real-life, delicious applications of an eco-friendly ethic. He also works with the Ocean Now program at the National Geographic Society, to influence the practices of large corporations and consumers alike toward a more responsible and sustainable sourcing ethic. Locally, Barton is an appointed member of the Mayor's Council on Nutrition in Washington, DC, where he is helping to craft a wellness policy for District residents.
Barton's childhood in Washington, DC was centered around the dinner table, and emphasized the importance of community. Seaver attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, where after finishing his formal education, he stayed on as a graduate fellow in the meat and fish departments. With unlimited access to nearly every commercially available fish, he came to love the versatility of seafood. His restaurant experience also continued to grow, with positions at the Four Seasons in Chicago and Finch Tavern in New York. But soon Seaver would trade the kitchens of the U.S. for a life-changing international escapade.
Having been bitten by the travel bug, Barton found himself in southern Spain as the chef of a family-run resort. The casual, ingredient-based cooking would prove to be an important influence in his perception of food and community. When the off-season came, Seaver hopped on a boat to Morocco and landed in a different world in the small seaside village of Essaouiera. There he took part in generations-old fishing methods and became a part of a community whose survival was directly linked to the oceans. This had a great impact on his belief that sustainability is, at its root, not only an ecological matter, but a humanitarian issue.
Upon returning to the States, Barton worked with renowned Chef José Andres at his small plates mecca, Jaleo, then he moved on to revamp the kitchen of Café Saint-Ex followed by sister restaurant Bar Pilar. In 2007, he turned his sights to Georgetown and opened Hook, a restaurant focused on sustainable seafood. Throughout the course of a single year the restaurant served 78 species of seafood, and Seaver's devotion to the sustainable ethic earned him countless spots in the national media. He also earned the title of Rising Star Chef from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. Keeping with the momentum, he opened a casual, New England-style seafood shack called TackleBox. While these restaurants provided an excellent stage to spread the word about the plight of our oceans, Barton left in 2008 to pursue a wider audience for his message.
While sustainability has largely been assigned to seafood and agriculture, Barton's work expands far beyond the dining table to include socio-economic and cultural issues. Locally, he pursues solutions to these problems through DC Central Kitchen, an organization that fights hunger not with food, but with personal empowerment, job training and life skills. Barton is also developing a forthcoming PBS series, titled 'Turning the Tide,' that helps tell the story of our common resources through the communion we all share - dinner.
Barton lives in Washington DC with his wife and their two kitties.
"Sustainability is not just an ecological issue, but also a socio-economic one. It is not about a rigid definition, but instead following an ethos. I support Alaska fisheries because I want to purchase from stocks that are doing well, as well as supporting people who are doing the right thing."~ Chef Barton Seaver
Slow Roasted Wild Alaska Halibut with Potato-Mushroom Hash
Ingredients:4 Alaska halibut, 5 oz. pieces
2 cups baby chioggia beets, quartered
3 stalks thyme
1 orange, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cups golden nugget or other fingerling potatoes, sliced in half
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup wild fall mushrooms, torn
2 sprigs thyme, leaves taken off stem and chopped
1 Tbsp. mint, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
To Serve:Equally divide hash amongst 4 plates, place one piece of halibut on top and drizzle over beet salsa.
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