JoJo Ruiz of Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine

Recognized as a Smart Catch Leader for Gaslamp’s Lionfish at Pendry San Diego (and Hotel Del Coronado’s Serẽa), Chef Ruiz showcases his seafood-centered cuisine through his James Beard accoladed cooking and preparation practices.

Chef Ruiz was recognized by the prestigious culinary foundation for the second time as a Smart Catch Leader for Lionfish for 2020, making both of his restaurants, Lionfish and Serea, the only two in San Diego to receive the recognition. Currently, Ruiz is within only 10 chefs of California’s estimated 76,000 restaurants to be recognized by Smart Catch and hold this respected honor.

About #SmartCatch
The Smart Catch program provides training and support to chefs so they can serve seafood fished or farmed in environmentally-responsible ways. By becoming a Smart Catch Leader and earning the Smart Catch seal, chefs give consumers a simple way to identify and support their restaurants.

Smart Catch is an educational sustainable seafood program created by chefs for chefs with the purpose of increasing the sustainability of the seafood supply chain. With more than 90 percent of the world’s fisheries either fully fished or overfished, preserving marine life to assure stable fishing stocks and promoting sustainably farmed options is more important than ever.
Through Smart Catch, chefs have a chance to use their influence to lead industry efforts to maintain healthy, sustainable food sources both for now and for future generations. They will be able to expand not only our palates, but also our views. Currently JoJo ranks amongst only 10 approved and accoladed California Chefs.
Link to accredited James Beard Smart Catch Leaders List:

Celebrated San Diego-based chef Jose “JoJo” Ruiz, recognized as an Eater “Young Gun” has already notched a cache of accomplishments throughout his burgeoning career. Chef Ruiz’s Seafood Program and Commitment to Sustainable Seafood at Gaslamp’s Lionfish earned him the Smart Catch Seal for a second year in a row. As a Smart Catch Leader for San Diego-based restaurants Lionfish and Serẽa, Ruiz has committed to sustainable seafood and menu diversity.

In order to be recognized by James Beard Foundation, restaurant menus must meet or exceed 80 percent sustainability, and restaurants must submit to three assessments per year. Further, “red” items, or seafood that is overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life, can only appear twice on menus and must total 8 percent volume or less.

As one of the country’s most prominent culinary institutions, the James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch is a program created by chefs for chefs with the purpose of increasing the sustainability of the seafood supply chain.

“We were committed to sustainable sourcing when we opened both Lionfish and Serẽa, not for the accolades, but because it was right,” Chef Ruiz said. “I grew up in San Diego. The ocean is a part of who I am. There was never a question that my menus wouldn’t be focused on sustainability. To be recognized twice as a Smart Catch Leader is humbling, but to be able to do my part to make sure future generations have sustainable food sources is even better.”

Opened in February 2017 from Andy Masi’s Clique Hospitality, Lionfish quickly became one of the leading restaurant innovators in San Diego. At Lionfish, Chef Ruiz showcases his talent in sushi, seafood and coastal cuisine at the bustling Fifth Avenue hotspot at Pendry San Diego. As a technique-driven eatery, Lionfish sets itself apart from other restaurants in the city, showcasing careful precision that elevates each dish for the diner. Chef Ruiz prides himself with a seasonal San Diego-inspired menu of modern coastal cuisine serving fresh sustainable seafood.

Notables like Harrison Ford, Olivia Munn, Chace Crawford, Lil Jon, Taylor Lautner, Danielle Panabaker, Foodgod, Jack Quaid, Rita Ora, Paris Jackson, Jaime King, Paris Hilton all frequent the San Diego hotspot eatery Lionfish and are a fan of the cuisine of Chef JoJo Ruiz.