The oil spill that has been ravaging the Gulf of Mexico for more than two months now is affecting restaurants in the Gulf region. Many of them don’t have access to their usual supplies of seafood, and seafood is what most Gulf region restaurants specialize in.

Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that “Top Chef” judge Susan Spicer of Bayona restaurant in New Orleans is suing because the fresh supplies of seafood from the Gulf have been disrupted by the oil spill. In addition to being a “Top Chef” judge, Spicer is a James Beard Award winner and has been a panelist on “Iron Chef America.” She is suing not only for herself, but on behalf of other chefs in the region as well.

Spicer filed a proposed class action on behalf of chefs “whose occupation was destroyed and/or adversely and detrimentally affected” by the worst oil spill in U.S. history, caused by the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig off the Louisiana coast in April.
As the supply of seafood from the Gulf becomes scarcer, the prices for what remains usable in the Gulf have increased. What restaurateurs can’t get from the Gulf, they now have to ship in from other regions. When they have to pay more for the seafood, they have to charge more for the seafood, and that is hurting business.

Add higher prices to a damaged tourism and convention business — meaning fewer people are coming through the restaurants — and it’s easy to see how the oil spill is destroying or adversely affecting restaurants in the region.

As of June 21, Outdoor Central reported that 80,806 square miles, about 33.4 percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, have been closed to fishing because of the oil spill.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.