Cooking for Solutions Event Details

This Year's Event is Now Over

Enjoy three delicious days of remarkable culinary experiences with some of the finest chefs in the nation. From our fabulous Friday Gala, to intimate Food & Wine Adventures and a decadent new Saturday night dessert party with Alton Brown, you’ll have a weekend of ways to meet great chefs, savor fine food and wine, and discover ways to save the oceans—one meal at a time.

Food & Wine Adventures

Sat., May 17 (9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m., times vary)

  • Ages 21 and up
  • $235 general public/$185 Aquarium members
  • (Tax deductible: $125 general public/$75 Aquarium members)
  • Tours 1, 4 and 6 depart from the Aquarium and include transportation.
    Participants in tours 2, 3 and 5 provide their own transportation.

Explore, savor and learn at one of six small-group events, each led by a celebrity chef or culinary professional. Each adventure takes you on a different exploration of sustainable foods: on the ranch, in the garden, by the ocean or in the kitchen. Whether you want to hone your culinary skills with a master chef or take a peek at a sustainable farm that lies below the waterline, our Food & Wine Adventures offer rare opportunities to spend time with culinary leaders and learn firsthand from their expertise. Depending on the adventure, you’ll join Wendy Brodie, Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts, Hugh Acheson, Jamie Malone, Jesse Ziff Cool and Kenny Belov, or Kristina Scrivani and Linda Hanger, for a fascinating culinary exploration.

Wendy Brodie. Sponsored by Estancia

Tour 1: The Art of Food

Sat., May 17 (9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.)

  • Sponsored by Estancia
  • Event begins and ends at the Aquarium. Transportation will be provided.

Wendy Brodie (Art of Food, Carmel, California) welcomes you into her spectacular Carmel Highlands home for an afternoon of cooking, tasting and sipping. Enhance your culinary skills, socialize in Wendy’s warm, welcoming home, and get a glimpse into the creative mind of an experienced chef and caterer as you work together to prepare a gourmet lunch. You’ll cook in a demonstration kitchen that affords sweeping views of forest and ocean, and learn tips and tricks from Wendy that will enhance your confidence and culinary creativity. It’s a true opportunity to cook with a master. You’ll enjoy the fruits of your labors together with premium wines by Estancia.

Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts. Sponsored by Carmel Valley Ranch

Tour 2: Beer and Burger Bash

Sat., May 17 (11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.)

  • Sponsored by Carmel Valley Ranch
  • Event at Carmel Valley Ranch. Transportation not provided.

Chefs Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts love to pair craft beer with everything from kale to calamari at their Playa del Rey restaurant, The Tripel. Almost nothing pairs better with beer than burgers, and our chefs have created the ultimate pub-style burger dubbed The Tripel: a sumptuous combination of duck confit, pork and aged beef with surprising accoutrements. Join them for a day at spectacular Carmel Valley Ranch for an outdoor burger-themed barbecue. You’ll enjoy the famous Tripel burger, paired with Sierra Nevada craft brews. Carmel Valley Ranch’s Executive Chef Tim Wood will create inspiring side dishes with produce straight from the Ranch’s onsite organic gardens. Sit down for lunch with the chefs and spend an afternoon enjoying the Ranch’s rolling, oak-studded hills and sunny gardens.

Hugh Acheson. Sponsored by Pebble Beach Resorts

Tour 3: Flavors of The New South

Sat., May 17 (11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.)

  • Sponsored by Pebble Beach Resorts
  • Event at Casa Palmero. Transportation not provided.

Chef Hugh Acheson has long been infatuated with the depth of history, community roots and focus on local ingredients that are the hallmarks of Southern cooking. His culinary vision, which combines classic European techniques with the creativity and seasonal focus of this truly American cuisine, has garnered him multiple honors, including the James Beard Award as Best Chef Southeast. Join Hugh and Yousef Ghalaini, Chef de Cuisine at Pebble Beach Resorts’ The Bench, for an afternoon of culinary exploration at the luxurious Casa Palmero. Chat with Hugh while he demonstrates how to make homemade pickles with a recipe from his new book Pick a Pickle. Then, sit down for a seasonal springtime Southern-style lunch inspired by Hugh’s cookbook A New Turn in the South. You’ll eat family-style as you sip premium wines by The Hess Collection and talk shop with these engaging culinary creatives.

Jamie Malone. Sponsored by Esalen Institute

Tour 4: Big Sur Escape

Sat., May 17 (9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.)

  • Sponsored by Esalen Institute
  • Event begins and ends at the Aquarium. Transportation will be provided.

Get centered and find your inner chef at the world-renowned Esalen Institute in Big Sur. Chef Jamie Malone of Minneapolis’ Sea Change will be your guide on a culinary journey that takes a holistic approach to the plate. Jamie’s culinary philosophy is centered on sustainability, but when she prepares a meal she thinks beyond the food, visualizing who will be eating it, who they will be sharing it with, and how the experience of the food will make them feel. You’ll join Jamie for an exploration of Esalen’s kitchen and rich organic gardens with Esalen Executive Chef Phillip Burrus. The chefs will treat you to an al fresco cooking demonstration, using ingredients straight from the garden. Then you’ll enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch prepared by the Esalen kitchen and accompanied by Napa Cellars wine, served in a spectacular ocean-view location between the Esalen gardens and the sea.

Jesse Cool and Kenny Belov. Sponsored by Jekel Vineyards

Tour 5: “Seafoodie” Adventure

Sat., May 17 (11 a.m.–3 p.m.)

  • Sponsored by Jekel Vineyards
  • Event begins and ends on the waterfront at Heritage Harbor, near Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. Transportation not provided to Heritage Harbor. Transportation will be provided between Heritage Harbor and Monterey Commercial Wharf II.

Gain new insight into the world of seafood on this immersive excursion with Chef Jesse Ziff Cool, and fisherman, chef and seafood expert Kenny Belov. You’ll stroll together along Monterey’s commercial wharf, home to six wholesale fish companies, a sustainable abalone farm and captivating scenery. Descend below the wharf’s weathered boards to visit the abalone farm, then resurface to meet with local fishermen, discuss the day’s catch and watch Jesse and Kenny demonstrate their favorite sustainable seafood recipes. We’ll bring you back to Heritage Harbor to enjoy a fresh seafood lunch by Chef Dory Ford of AQUA TERRA Culinary, served outdoors in a setting with views of the harbor. Enjoy premium wines by Jekel Vineyards, and meet winemaker Jeff Cichocki to learn how his wine is sustainably produced in the Arroyo Seco appellation, as you soak up the beauty of the sea and the spectacular Monterey landscape.

Kristina Scrivani and Linda Hanger. Sponsored by Stone Creek Kitchen and De Tierra Vineyards

Tour 6: Mediterranean Sunshine with Stone Creek Kitchen

Sat., May 17 (10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.)

  • Sponsored by Stone Creek Kitchen and De Tierra Vineyards
  • Event begins and ends at the Aquarium. Transportation will be provided.

Celebrate the bold, sun-drenched flavors of the Mediterranean with a bountiful gourmet picnic lunch at De Tierra Vineyards, located in a spectacular landscape described by author John Steinbeck as the “pastures of heaven.” Local culinary leaders Kristina Scrivani and Linda Hanger from Monterey’s Stone Creek Kitchen will take you on an inspiring and educational tour of the senses in this hands-on adventure. From briny olives to aromatic herbs, Mediterranean cuisine focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients and simple preparations that make flavors shine. Experience a guided olive oil tasting and discover a palette of flavors ranging from buttery to pungent. Create your own salt blend to take home, and learn techniques for layering flavors to create fresh, palate-pleasing fare. Meet De Tierra winemaker Zack Lawrence and vineyard owners the Russell family, and tour this incredible property as you learn how De Tierra grows grapes, as well as olives for its award-winning oil, all without any chemical pesticides. Together, you’ll enjoy De Tierra wines and a feast prepared by Kristina and Linda that will inspire you to bring a little Mediterranean sunshine into to your own kitchen.

DIY: Hands-on Experiences with Top Chefs

Sat., May 17 (10 a.m.–3:30 p.m., times vary)

  • Ages 18 and up
  • $110 general public (per presentation) / $85 Aquarium members (per presentation)
  • Includes Aquarium admission
  • Discovery Classroom

Hone your skills and learn new tricks from acclaimed chefs John Ash, Lindsay Autry and Virginia Willis in this brand new Cooking for Solutions series. Each 90-minute class focuses on a specific ingredient, technique or cooking style and offers kitchen enthusiasts the opportunity to learn from the masters in intimate groups. From preparing home-smoked salmon to making veggies the star of the plate, roll up your sleeves with celebrity chefs and learn lessons you can take home to make magic in your own kitchen.

Lindsay Autry

DIY: Making Vegetables the Star of the Plate with Lindsay Autry

Sat., May 17 (10–11:30 a.m.)

Chef Lindsay Autry loves to create simple, soulful dishes inspired by her own food memories. In this class Lindsay will share some of her favorite vegetable-focused dishes, and help you gain confidence in your ability to select perfect produce. She’ll share her secrets for layering flavors to make vibrant vegetable dishes suitable for special occasions and weeknight dinners. If you’re looking for delicious and unexpected ways to incorporate more veggies into your diet, this is the class for you.

John Ash. Sponsored by Verlasso

DIY: Smoked and Cured Salmon with John Ash

Sat., May 17 (12–1:30 p.m.)

  • Sponsored by Verlasso®

Salmon has long been admired for its health benefits and culinary flexibility. In recent years farmed salmon has been avoided by conscientious eaters concerned about the sustainability of farmed fish and the health of wild populations. Now, new aquaculture methods that meet Seafood Watch guidelines have made Verlasso® brand salmon from Chile a “Good Alternative.” Acclaimed chef and culinary educator John Ash will share his foolproof techniques for homemade hot-smoked and quick-cured salmon, helping you make the most of this versatile, flavorful and nutrient-rich fish. You’ll go home with a better understanding of how to cook with salmon, and new inspiration for dishes to make on your own.

Virginia Willis

DIY: Biscuits and Shortbread with Virginia Willis

Sat., May 17 (2–3:30 p.m.)

Biscuits and shortbread share a seductive simplicity. Just a few everyday ingredients yield results that range from flaky and savory to crumbly and sweet. Yet, as is true for most simple things, technique is paramount if you want to master these rustic classics. Join Chef Virginia Willis to learn her techniques for making perfect, flaky biscuits and crisp, buttery shortbread at home. Virginia’s cooked with Julia Child, Martha Stewart and more, and her fans love her warm, upbeat personality and cooking style that combines French culinary training and Southern roots. You’ll learn the right ratios, why the brand of flour matters when making biscuits, and why your dough wants to be left alone. Together you’ll whip up a savory smoked trout spread for the biscuits and a sumptuous strawberry-vanilla cream to slather on shortbread. You’ll feel right at home in the kitchen with Virginia and leave with new confidence to bring home to your own.

Salon Series

Sat., May 17 (10 a.m.–4 p.m., times vary)

  • Ages 6 and up
  • $50 general public (per presentation)/$25 Aquarium members (per presentation)
  • Salon Series One-Day Pass for all five presentations $110, Aquarium members only
  • Includes Aquarium admission
  • Bing Board Room

Join us for one, or more, of these intimate culinary experiences with chefs and artisans who will offer delicious insights into some of your favorite foods. Whether you want to get the skinny on all-things-bacon, take a peek into the world of a chocolate professional, or hear tales about rooftop beekeeping from a third-generation apiarist, the pros will share their tips, tricks and lively commentary in each hour-long, interactive program.

Todd Fisher

Bacon Across the Nation with Todd Fisher

Sat., May 17 (10–11 a.m.)

Start your Saturday right and have a smoky, savory, sizzling good time with chef and television personality Todd Fisher, host of “The United States of Bacon” on the Destination America Network. From mile-high BLTs to bacon-cheddar-apple pie, Chef Todd has traveled across the country to try them all. Join this charismatic personality for a mouthwatering morning of engaging talk, cooking and more that’s sure to elevate bacon to new heights. Todd will share some of his favorite ways to cook with bacon, discuss how he selects the best products, and share some of his most amusing stories from the road.

Pure Cacao with TCHO

Pure Cacao with TCHO

Sat., May 17 (11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.)

  • Sponsored by TCHO

San Francisco-based chocolate company, TCHO, fuses Silicon Valley innovation with Slow Food soul to make what it dubs “obsessively good, flavor-focused chocolate.” Like fine wine, well-made chocolate can have a broad spectrum of flavors and aromas, and TCHO’s mission is to highlight the flavors of pure cacao. Join Alise Inzerillo of TCHO, a trained pastry chef, to learn her favorite ways to play with chocolate—from dark, rich desserts to surprising savory dishes that highlight the complexity of chocolate. You’ll taste her creations, and learn how TCHO’s innovative approach is redefining the way chocolate is tasted.

Sean Knight and Jeff Rogers

Seafood South of the Border with Sean Knight and Jeff Rogers

Sat., May 17 (12:30–1:30 p.m.)

Bright, bold flavors meet the freshest of seafood in this mouthwatering salon that explores the delicious versatility of Latin American seafood dishes. Join Sean Knight, Cindy Pawlcyn's long-time business partner and a chef in his own right, and Jeff Rogers, the Aquarium's resident executive chef, for a demonstration of some of their favorite seafood dishes from south of the border. From scrumptious seafood tostadas to sustainable fish tacos, you'll learn new ways to feature seafood in your own culinary repertoire.

Honey Bee

The Honeybee Chronicles with Meredith May

Sat., May 17 (1:45–2:45 p.m.)

Meredith May grew up with the buzz of the hive in her blood. The granddaughter of legendary Big Sur beekeeper Franklin Peace, she spent much of her childhood helping him tend to the 100 hives he maintained from 1940-2010 and joining him to deliver honey along Highway 1. Now an award-winning journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle, Meredith writes the “Honeybee Chronicles” column, about her adventures managing two hives on the roof of the newspaper building in the heart of San Francisco. In this engaging talk you’ll learn why it’s easier to be a bee in the city than it is in the country, how diverse in color and flavor honey can be, and see some of the equipment you need to start your own hive. Meredith will also share tastes of her urban rooftop honey, and stories of growing up around bees. Whether you’re a fan of local honey, an avid gardener concerned about the fate of the world’s most important pollinators, or you’ve flirted with the idea of home apiculture, this salon will be a compelling look into the complex world of bees.

Fresh Vegetables

Expand Your Vegetable Horizons with Katherine Alford

Sat., May 17 (3–4 p.m.)

Explore the vibrant versatility of vegetables with Katherine Alford, a test kitchen expert and Senior Vice President of Culinary for Food Network and Cooking Channel. From surprising salads to satisfying main courses, Katherine will show you new ways to cook with your favorite veggies, and share recipes that will encourage the most timid home cooks to expand their vegetable horizons. With experience creating countless packages of recipes for Food Network Magazine and, Katherine’s practical, accessible advice will empower you to become a culinary star in your own kitchen.

A Street Food Extravaganza. Sponsored by Niman Ranch and The Hess Collection

A Street Food Extravaganza hosted by Carla Hall

  • Sat., May 17 (5–7 p.m.)

  • Ages 6 and up
  • Featuring celebrity chefs Jeremy Bearman, Sam Choy, Chad Hendrickson, Sara Jenkins, Sarah LaCasse, Michael Leviton, Nico Romo, Jonathon Sawyer, Art Smith, Sam Talbot, James Waller and Alexander Weiss
  • $165 general public / $135 Aquarium members
  • (Tax deductible: $70 general public/$40 Aquarium members)
  • Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

World travelers will tell you the best way to discover a culture is to sample its street food. From succulent small bites on skewers to tacos to whole roasted pigs carved curbside, street food is an exciting way to expand your culinary horizons. Carla Hall will host as you taste gourmet ethnic treats created by our featured celebrity chef street food aficionados, all of whom bring a world of travel experience and culinary perspectives to this fun grazing event. Partake in a whole lamb and pig roast, pick up cooking tips for preparing street food favorites at home, and try your hand at pairing each bite with different premium wines from The Hess Collection and craft beers. Meet the farmer who raised the pig, chat casually with the chefs, and with many other Cooking for Solutions chefs in attendance at the event, in this vibrant culinary marketplace overlooking the water at the beautiful bayside Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.

The Party with Alton Brown. Sponsored by Cooking Light and Clover Stornetta

The Party with Alton Brown

Sat., May 17 (9 p.m.–midnight)

  • Ages 21 and up
  • Featuring Cooking Light Light Up the Night Lounge
  • $80 general public / $65 Aquarium members
  • Aquarium galleries

Brand new for 2014, the Aquarium transforms into a one-of-a-kind underwater nightclub for this lively late-night dessert and cocktail party. Dance to an eclectic mix of electro, house and dance hits courtesy of San Francisco DJ Magic Matt (Club X, Star 101.3). Meet special guest host Alton Brown, and get a sugar rush with an extravagant selection of delectable desserts by pastry chefs Yigit Pura (Tout Sweet Pâtisserie), Claire Hulstrom (Monterey Beach Party), Angela Gong Salvatore (Waterbar), Ben Spungin (Coastal Luxury Management) and Terri Wu (Farallon). Kick back in the Cooking Light Light Up the Night Lounge and restore your energy for the dance floor with grilled cheese sandwiches and kale lemonade by Earthbound Farm, sushi bites courtesy of Tataki Sushi & Sake Bar and cheeses by Clover Stornetta. In addition to a cash bar, you can sample signature cocktails made with American Harvest Organic Spirits, wines from The Hess Collection, or even a Sierra Nevada Brewing Company beer float. The unique combination—amazing exhibits, celebrity chefs and a lively dance party, plus sweet and savory treats—makes this a one-night-only experience that’ll have you basking in the afterglow all year long. Fun club attire encouraged, but not required.

Jose Garces and Nathan Lyon. Sponsored by Whole Foods and Clover Stornetta

Sustainable Foods Celebration at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Sat., May 17 (10 a.m.–6 p.m.)

  • All ages
  • Featuring Whole Foods Marketplace & Kids Zone
  • Included with Aquarium admission
  • Aquarium galleries and Great Tide Pool deck

Learn about sustainable seafood, organic agriculture and Earth-friendly winemaking as you stroll through the Aquarium galleries. Visit the Whole Foods Marketplace & Kids Zone, where you’ll graze with local growers and food artisans, or attend informative “talk and taste” demonstrations with culinary experts on our ocean-view deck. See cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs Jose Garces and Nathan Lyon. You can chat with the Whole Foods Market Seafood Team to get tips on selecting and preparing fresh seafood, or learn about local olive oil, produce, cheese, honey, ice cream and other delectables from around the region. With chef book signings throughout the Aquarium, plus activities and crafts for kids, a photo booth and a spectacular waterfront setting, it’s an engaging way for all ages to learn more about the food we eat.

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Special Hotel Accommodations

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

  • $499 per night Ocean View with balcony
  • $399 per night Ocean View
  • $299 per night Partial Ocean View
  • $239 per night Non-Ocean View, single or double occupancy

Rooms are limited. For reservations, call toll-free (800) 334-3999 or (831) 646-1700 x44 and refer to the Cooking for Solutions event.

Event Packages


Cooking for Solutions Platinum

  • $670 Aquarium members only
  • (Tax deductible: $125)

Includes: Friday evening Amuse-Bouche + Sam & Carla’s Lounge + Cooking for Solutions Gala + one Saturday Food & Wine Adventure + Street Food Extravaganza + one Sunday DIY Experience + one Sunday Salon Series program.


The Works

  • $560 Aquarium members only
  • (Tax deductible: $60)

Includes: Friday evening Amuse-Bouche + Sam & Carla’s Lounge + Cooking for Solutions Gala + one Saturday Salon Series program + Street Food Extravaganza + The Party + one Sunday DIY Experience.


The Works 2

  • $530 Aquarium members only
  • (Tax deductible: $60)

Includes: Friday evening Amuse-Bouche + Sam & Carla’s Lounge + Cooking for Solutions Gala + one Saturday Salon Series program + Street Food Extravaganza + The Party + two Sunday Salon Series programs.


Salon Series One-Day Pass

  • $110 Aquarium members only

Enjoy all five Salon Series programs on either Saturday or Sunday. Whether you want to learn how to pair beer with food or make your own organic ice cream, the pros will share their tips and tricks with lively commentary in hour-long interactive programs.