The Monterey Bay Aquarium has selected Cindy Pawlcyn, in partnership with Aramark, to manage the aquarium’s dining experiences.
Pawlcyn, creator of Mustards Grill, Go Fish and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, will bring her cooking philosophy to all aspects of the aquarium’s food and beverage program, including its self-service café, full-service restaurant and private event catering.
Pawlcyn will continue the emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, and on wild-caught and farmed seafood that adhere to the highest standards of the aquarium’s respected Seafood Watch program.
A pioneer in the development of wine country cuisine, Pawlcyn has earned accolades since she opened the first of her three Napa Valley restaurants more than 25 years ago.
“For 25 years, I have loved coming to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with family and friends,” Pawlcyn said. “I am excited to bring sustainable, locally produced, farm-to-table foods to enhance the culinary experience of a larger audience, and I look forward to working with a new group of farmers, ranchers, fishermen, artisanal cheese and dairy producers, and purveyors from the Monterey Bay region.”
The Minneapolis native has been involved in the creation of more than a dozen Bay Area restaurants, including Fog City Diner, Tra Vigne, Bix, Roti, Betelnut, Buckeye Roadhouse and, in Carmel, the Rio Grill.
A student at the Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris, she has a degree in restaurant management from the University of Wisconsin and is a two-time nominee for a James Beard Award as Best California Chef. She earned a Beard Award for her “Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook,” one of four cookbooks she has written.
Pawlcyn’s team will include her restaurant management group, headed by managing partner Sean Knight. An accomplished chef himself, Knight has worked at New York’s Le Bernardin, at Patina in Los Angeles and as executive chef at Pinot Blanc in Napa Valley. He has been a guest chef for the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Series.
Before teaming up with Pawlcyn, he also managed large food service operations as an independent national restaurant consultant and as executive chef for culinary operations at the Oakland Coliseum.