Fresh Catch: Go Fishing with Your Chef

Head out on a boat with Cafe del Rey's own Chuck Abair.

You can ask your server where exactly the ingredients of your meal came from, and, depending upon the restaurant, you'll get a variety of answers. "The store" is one that is less than satisfying, but common enough, though particular farmers markets and growers are named, more and more.

Then there's the chance to go catch the fish you'll eat alongside the chef. There are few ways to get closer to the source than to be on the other end of the fishing line, and to have the person who will later prepare the food on deck? Call it hands-on dining, in the truest sense.

Cafe del Rey's Executive Chef Chuck Abair leading the "Permission to Come Aboard" half-day fishing expedition from Marina del Rey on Saturday, March 8. He and a cozy caboodle of fish fans'll head out into the Pacific, gear at the ready. The cost is $55, for the trip, and that includes a license.

A cozy caboodle = 10 to 30 people, so bet that you'll say hello to everyone on your trip, even if you don't remember all the names by the time you again reach land.

The barbecue lunch that'll follow is a separate ticket -- $110, and that includes the boat outing and barbecue -- which means you can just do the fishing trip, if you wish. But it seems niftier to us to participate in both the procuring of the seafood and the meal which will follow.

Sustainable game fish, is the order of the day, by the by. "We try to source as locally as possible and Permission to Come Aboard gives us the opportunity to explore that in our own backyard," says Chef Abair.

The boat leaves at 7 a.m. on March 8, and you'll be back on land by 11:30 or noon. That's when the barbecue kicks off, and probably a few fish stories, too.

Which is as it should be. Since you and your new pals will already know where the day's catch came from, you can move on to bragging and one-ups-man-ship, two of the true pleasures that follow a fun day on the ocean.

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