Chef Susur Lee
From Ron Ruggless at Nations Restaurant News
: Two months after the April 20 oil rig explosion that started a
massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the restaurant industry
continued this week to garner support for fishermen and to seek
compensation from the rig’s owner, BP Plc.
On Monday, a handful of celebrity chefs and the Louisiana Seafood
Promotion & Marketing Board announced a fund-raising effort, called
“Friends of the Fishermen Fund,” to help those affected by the Gulf oil
Meanwhile, prominent New Orleans chef Susan Spicer on Friday sued BP
for damages to restaurants that have lost normal seafood supplies.
Spicer, who owns Bayona in New Orleans’ French Quarter and has been
a judge on television’s “Top Chef,” sought class-action status on
behalf of restaurants and others in the seafood industry.
Spicer's lawyer, Serena Pollack, said in a federal court suit that
restaurants depend heavily on the availability of local seafood.
“Much of plaintiff's business is based on the unique quality of
Louisiana seafood, as well as the chain of delivery of that resource
from the initial harvester (be it fisherman, oyster grower or
shrimper),” Pollack wrote in the 18-page complaint. “Because this chain
of delivery cannot be maintained, plaintiff's business has been, and
continues to be, materially damaged.”
Last month, various groups of restaurateurs from Louisiana and
Florida reportedly filed suit against BP because of lost profits from
the oil spill, whether based on increased seafood costs or lost
During the Monday press conference for the unrelated “Friends of the
Fishermen Fund,” chefs John Folse of Gonzales, La., Tom Colicchio of
New York, Rick Tramonto of Chicago, Charles Carroll of Houston, Dean
Fearing of Dallas, Rick Moonen of Las Vegas and Susur Lee of Toronto
converged on Grand Isle, La. to support Louisiana’s seafood industry
Fearing, of Fearing’s restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas,
pledged proceeds from the fine-dining spot’s upcoming third anniversary
Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion
and Marketing Board, said consumers can support fishermen by buying
Louisiana seafood as well as making contributions at www.FriendsoftheFishermen.org to help those who are “so essential to Louisiana’s culture, heritage and way of life.”
Many Gulf fishing areas remain open, but more than 30,000 fishing
families have been directly impacted by the oil, the board said.
The fishermen’s fund is directed by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion
& Marketing Board, which is a program of the state’s Department of
Wildlife and Fisheries. All donations are collected and administered by
South Central Planning & Development Commission, a 501(c)1