Chef/Owner Rob Ruiz
An outspoken advocate for responsibly sourced and traceable seafood, Oceanside native Chef Rob Ruiz spent a decade honing his craft in Hawaii where he worked with James Beard award winner Chef Alan Wong before earning an apprenticeship under Japanese sushi master chef Etsuji Umezu. Since returning to San Diego and opening his signature restaurant, The Land and Water Company in 2014 –where his menu of hyper-local, ethically raised ingredients have put him firmly on the map –he has also focused on the culinary community’s role in saving the endangered vaquita porpoise and educating consumers.
Recently receiving global recognition for his dedication to improving fishing and seafood industry practices at The Ocean Awards 2016 held in London by the Blue Marine Foundation and Boat International. He is the Chef/Restaurateur Winner of 2016, who has made the most outstanding commitment to ocean conservation and ongoing mission to raise awareness and consumption of environmentally friendly seafood.
His dedication to marine sustainability and drive for responsible culinary excellence serve to inspire others in his field and beyond.
- 2009 Started engaging with NOAA and FishWatch.gov
- 2010 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival.
- 2011 Local Sushi Chef In Japan during Tahokou Quake near Fukushima nuclear plant.
- 2012 Invented the edible QR Codes empowering consumers with transparent traceable data scanned onto the customer’s smart phone.
- 2013 Sustainable Cuisine and demonstration at Aspen Food & Wine Classic – Southern Wine & Spirits Charity Event.
- 2013 Dedication of NOAA’s new Southwest Fisheries Science Center laboratory; Head chef at San Diego Maritime Alliance reception for 600-700 to showcase the edible species studied at the new facility.
- 2014 Chef/Owner opened The Land & Water Co. in Carlsbad, CA. 100% sustainable and 100% traceable restaurant.
- 2015 Ranked top 10 best new restaurants in San Diego.
- 2015 Best of Carlsbad Voted #1 Restaurant.
- 2016 – Chef/Restaurateur Winner of The Ocean Awards 2016 in London Awarded by Blue Marine Foundation & Boat International.
- 2016 Ranked one of the 15 Best Romantic Restaurants in Carlsbad.
- 2016 Ranked #2 Where to Eat in San Diego.
- 2016 Best of Carlsbad Award in the Restaurant category (Carlsbad Hall of Fame – #1 Restaurant Two Years Consecutively).
- 2016 San Diego Magazine Best Restaurants – Critic’s Pick Best Sushi.
- 2016 Winner of Chef Throwdown San Diego – Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
- 2016 Gogobot Travelers Favorite Awards.
- 2016 Chef of the Year – “Uncompromising commitment to quality, sustainability and innovation.” ~ The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Sustainable Events Timeline:
- 2009 FishWatch.gov collaboration lead to work with Marine Stewardship Council, Monterey Bay Aquarium, FishWatch.gov, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Seafood for the Future and others, working to define sustainable assets.
- 2010 Met with Bill Fox, of World Wild Life Foundation US, on refining edible QR Codes and communicating message of sustainability nationally.
- 2010 Met with IATTC, Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, studying the health and status of all Tunas. Followed their recommendations on which species of tuna to categorize as sustainable.
- 2011 Launched the “Ocean to Table” series hosted by Southwest Fisheries Science Center and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, U.C. San Diego. This collaboration brings the culinary community together with scientists, managers and the public to raise awareness about seafood and sustainability. 2012 Guest Lecture during Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Masters of Advanced Studies program in Marine Conservation and Biodiversity. Engaged with graduate students on understanding sustainable seafood and conscious consumerism. Also creating Blue Market Career Opportunities.
- 2013 After creating the edible QR Codes I was contacted by the US Department of Commerce to participate in their National Publicity Campaign featuring small businesses utilizing sustainable practices. This is important because this lead me to national exposure with Forbes Magazine and National Geographic.
- 2013 Catered and hosted the Versace – Oceana Annual Charity Event in Orange County where we raised over $150,000 that went to the Ocean Conservancy.
- 2014 Renovated the oldest landmark restaurant in the city of San Diego. Built in 1886, and known as the Twin Inns in the early 1900’s, Chef Rob Ruiz reinvented the space using all sustainable materials and heirlooms from the past to birth, as well as preserve, a new home for his sustainable philosophy. Named after the Carlsbad Land and Water Co. who had the home built, Ruiz serves only the best from the land and water.
- 2014 Returned to Aspen Food & Wine Classic for Private Southern Wine & Spirits Event for CORE Charity. Providing sustainable cuisine for over 400 guests. Chef Rob Ruiz Sustainability Feature in the Aspen Daily News.
- 2014/2015 Conservation of the critically endangered Gulf of California porpoise (the vaquita). Facing extinction as bycatch in fishing gear set for shrimp, much of which is imported into the U.S., Chef Rob and his chef network have partnered to create, host and cook at multiple events that showcase the plight of the vaquita and are working to promote the production of shrimp caught without entangling gillnets. Rob works with scientists from NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the government of Mexico, alongside nongovernmental agencies such as the World Wildlife Fund-Mexico and ProNatura and fishermen, to show the role that the culinary community can play in conservation and provide incentives to support fishermen switching to new types of fishing gear that do not endanger the vaquita. One event, hosted at Land and Water Company, raised tens of thousands of dollars for vaquita conservation. Ruiz has also participated in marine mammal workshops, web/social community awareness, and also cooked in Baja California Mexico with leading culinary minds also aimed at preserving this species. Through guest experience, mainstream media, and working to better understand the circumstances of this issue, Ruiz is doing everything he can to help save this endangered species. So far the reward of everyone’s hard work has been the declaration by the President of Mexico in April 2015 to ban gillnets from the northern Gulf of California for two years, during which time additional efforts with fishermen can help to transition the region to gillnet free fisheries, support fishing communities – and help to save the species. 2014 Co-founder of Cannon Farms in Fallbrook, CA. 6 Acre sustainable USDA Certified. Organic GMO Free Farm dedicated exclusively to supplying The Land & Water Company.
- 2015 Worked with leading seafood purveyors in Southern California to provide new sustainable species options for current market. Ruiz works with True World Foods Inc., Santa Monica Seafoods, Catalina Offshore Products, as well as, local fisherman and chefs to find sustainable solutions. Notably Ruiz is the first restaurant in the United States to carry Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Green Rated SELVA Shrimp. This sustainable shrimp model has been successful and the first shrimp product to receive the green “Best Choice” recommendation from Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is important because it shows a successful working model. Ruiz also has a solution to the dire situation of the vaquita porpoise by engaging with fishers in the Gulf of California in bringing the vaquita-safe shrimp to restaurants and markets in the U.S.
- Current – Ruiz continues to collaborate with chefs, scientists, and conservationists to provide real knowledge and hard science to consumers.
- 2015 – Featured on the cover of Dining Out San Diego with cover story focused on sustainability and the role of the culinary community in saving the endangered vaquita porpoise.
- 2015 – Participated on the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud.
- 2015 – Edible San Diego “San Diego’s Top Chef Without Shortcuts”.
- 2016 – Chef/Restaurateur Winner of The Ocean Awards 2016 in London. Criteria: The restaurant group, chef or restaurateur who has made the most outstanding commitment to ocean conservation. Recognizing the campaign to conserve the endangered vaquita porpoise in the Gulf of California and to promote the use of shrimp caught without the use of entangling gillnets.
- 2016 Chef of the Year – “For his uncompromising commitment to quality, sustainability and innovation.” ~The San Diego Union-Tribune