The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | It’s a great time for seafood lovers. March marked the beginning of Pacific halibut season, featuring this delicious, sustainable Ocean Wise fish in ample supply. “It’s an incredibly versatile fish, which is one of the reasons I love it so much,” says YEW seafood and bar’s Executive Chef Ned Bell, who couldn’t be happier to have fresh halibut back on the menu this season.
The Pacific halibut fishery closes from November to March because that’s when the halibut spawn. YEW, at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, tries to be the first restaurant in town to serve halibut when the season opens every year. On that day in early March, Ned likes to make a show of bringing the spectacular white fish into the dining room from the front entrance and carving it up. Teddie Geach, the Aquarium’s Ocean Wise account representative for Western Canada, was one of the first to sample YEW’s 2014 halibut this year, and she’s on board with Bell’s enthusiasm. “Chefs play a really important role in educating people about the food that they’re eating,” says Teddie.
And Pacific halibut is a good news story. Its supply is extremely well-managed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), a joint team of Americans and Canadians that dates back to 1923. Halibut can reach 500 lbs. Males mature around eight years old, while females aren’t fully mature until they’re about 12. “The larger the female is, the more eggs she will produce,” says Teddie, who notes that a 250 lb. fish could potentially turn out four million eggs per year. That’s what Ocean Wise calls a “highly fecund” female.
A bottom-dwelling flatfish, Pacific halibut are typically found on the continental shelf, preferring temperatures that range from 3 to 8 degrees C. Their natural habitat ranges from the Bering Sea down to the waters off northern California. They have a moderate life span, compared to some species of sturgeon, which live to be well over 100 years old. Still, the oldest halibut recorded made it to the age of 55. “That’s pretty old for a fish,” says Teddie. Learn more about halibut after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from the Naramata Bench Wineries Association
Naramata, BC | Wine For Waves, presented in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium in support of its national sustainable seafood program Ocean Wise, is set to take place from 7pm to 9:30pm on Friday, May 2nd at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. Enjoy the best of the Naramata Bench wineries while sampling tantalizing culinary offerings from YEW restaurant + bar and six other Ocean Wise restaurant partners; and the Naramata Bench’s own Hillside Winery Bistro, Lake Breeze Vineyards The Patio restaurant, Red Rooster’s Pecking Room Patio Grill, Poplar Grove Winery’s The Vanilla Pod, and Upper Bench Winery and Creamery. Proceeds to benefit Ocean Wise. Tickets and details here. Read more
The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | With the addition of 55,000 square feet of amazing exploration space at Vancouver Aquarium this summer, the Aquarium’s signature fundraising gala, Night at the Aquarium, presented by PCL Construction Group, will be an event you won’t want to miss. Taking place on June 19th, Night at the Aquarium is a celebration of our oceans and raises funds to support the Aquarium’s conservation, research and education efforts, including its national sustainable seafood program Ocean Wise™.
Be among the first to experience the Aquarium’s expansive new venue, which will be the stunning backdrop to this year’s Night at the Aquarium. Vancouver’s top philanthropic and corporate leaders will be joined by passionate Ocean Wise chefs, like Executive Chef Ned Bell of YEW Seafood + Bar and Chef Rob Clark of The Fish Counter, as they delight guests with diverse culinary experiences.
Guests are invited to bid on unique live and silent auction items such as an unforgettable fishing and wildlife adventure at Langara Island Lodge. You will be whisked away on a charter flight to a luxurious four-night, all-inclusive stay where the best salmon and halibut fishing on a private boat awaits you. There are also once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as accompanying the Aquarium’s head veterinarian for a day on his weekly rounds to get the clinical low-down on the animals under his care. Details after the jump… Read more
It’s not on the “it” list of sushi eateries in town, but as you can see above, the wee little Raw Bar attached to the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge plates some awesome stuff. Aim for the oysters, the yellowfin tuna tataki, and the Northern Divine caviar served on tamago nigiri. Our visit came on the heels of the hotel’s recent boast that resident sushi chef “Taka” Omi was now only using sustainable, Ocean Wise-approved seafoods. Did that fact make everything taste better? Doubtful, but it’s also hard to imagine how any of the delicious plates could have been improved. Omi and his crew are wizards with knives, and they get to play with some very fine fish. Pay them a proper visit when your wallet’s fat and your appetite is ready.
Fairmont Pacific Rim | 1038 Canada Place | 604-695-5300 | Website
The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | After a delicious battle for chowder supremacy at the Vancouver Aquarium, defending champion chef Chris Whittaker of Forage Restaurant again earned the title of 2013 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Vancouver at the sold-out, annual event.
Thirteen top Ocean Wise chefs from British Columbia joined the sustainable seafood movement at the ever-popular Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown by presenting their best, ocean-friendly seafood chowders, paired with beers, to an eager crowd of 600 people. A panel of celebrity judges sampled each mouth-watering chowder and crowned chef Chris Whittaker of Forage as 2013 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Vancouver. After indulging their taste buds in all 13 Ocean Wise chowders, guests at the event chose chef Ned Bell of YEW Restaurant + Bar as the winner of the People’s Choice award.
Chef Whittaker impressed the judges’ panel for the second year in a row with his enticing recipe for Creamy B.C. Spot Prawn Chowder, featuring the classic flavours of bacon, white wine and thyme, and finished with smokey chicharon and poached egg.
Chef Bell’s choice of Ocean Wise humpback shrimp, pink peppercorn cream and BC Cranberry & Okanagan Apple Relish culminated in a mouth-watering chowder named The Big Red, which won the crowd’s allegiance with ease. Chef Paul Cecconi of Brodo Kitchen and Catering with CodFathers Seafood Market won the award for best pairing – Outlandish Mussel-Saffron Chowder paired with Red Racer ESB beer by Central City Brewers and Distillers.
“As the sold-out nature of this event demonstrates each year, the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown is a fun and delicious way to celebrate sustainable seafood,” says Ann-Marie Copping, Ocean Wise manager at the Vancouver Aquarium. “Overfishing is the single biggest threat our oceans face today. In fact, we’re already fishing the last 10 per cent of all large, predatory fish from our oceans. It’s heartening to bring together our sustainability-conscious chefs and suppliers to share their passion with consumers who deeply care about the health of our oceans. We are so grateful to our partners, participants and guests for their support.”
This year’s sixth annual Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown in Vancouver showcased 13 top Ocean Wise chefs who joined the sustainable seafood movement by competing head to head in this friendly competition. Their original, ocean-friendly seafood chowders were paired with beers that highlighted each chowder’s flavour profile. The diverse ingredients of the chowders ran the spectrum, from Ocean Wise Dungeness crab chowder with salmon bacon to Ocean Wise smoked oysters and chanterelle chowder. A list of participating chefs and their bios can be found here.
This year’s panel of distinguished judges included:
· Guy Dean – Vice president and chief sustainability officer, Albion Fisheries Ltd.
· Rob Clark – Co-owner of The Fish Counter and Ocean Wise chef partner
· Chester Carey – Serious Beer program instructor and certified cicerone
· Sid Cross – Food and wine aficionado
· Andrew Morrison – Founder of Scout Magazine
· Tim Pawsey – Food and wine journalist
· Jamie Maw – Food and wine journalist
During Ocean Wise month in November, consumers are invited to join the sustainable seafood movement by eating ocean-friendly seafood to keep our oceans healthy. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item for the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. Read more
The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | Overfishing is the biggest threat our ocean’s face today. At this critical point, we are now fishing the last 10 per cent of the oceans’ large, predatory fish. The good news is that there is still time to take action to save our oceans. November is Ocean Wise month – an ideal time to remind ourselves to choose sustainable seafood options all year round. Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program is a national sustainable seafood initiative that works to educate consumers on the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. The program also works with restaurant, market, supplier and producer partners to provide sustainable Ocean Wise seafood options to consumers. There are many ways that you can join the sustainable seafood movement – not only during Ocean Wise month, but every day. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Rob Clark – former executive chef at “C”, co-founder of the Chefs Table Society of BC, two-time Gold Medal Plates Vancouver winner (and other things besides) – has joined forces with his good friend from the Vancouver Aquarium, Mike McDermid, to open a sustainable fishmongers on Main Street this summer called The Fish Counter.
You’ve likely heard these two names together before. Clark and McDermid are the co-founders of the hugely successful Ocean Wise program. As such, they were instrumental in founding the annual Spot Prawn Festival, raising Vancouver’s awareness about making the right choices when it comes to purchasing seafoods, and schooled an entire generation of Canadian chefs on their dual responsibilities to the environment and the plate. Truly, if it weren’t for their efforts over the last decade, we’d probably still be eating Chilean Sea Bass, smoking the lice from farmed salmon and snorting the polluted brains of imported black tiger prawns.
I paid a visit to their 1,200 sqft. construction site at 3825 Main St. yesterday, right after they’d exhausted themselves by picking fist fights with the space’s thick concrete flooring. It’s pretty stark and dark in there, but it’s not hard to imagine the small-ish space turned into a thriving fish market with super fresh, line caught locals and live tanks full of crab and assorted shellfish, but I don’t envy the hard slog they have in getting there! They’ve only just begun, but the truth of it is that they’d searched for the location for upwards of a year. “We really wanted to be here,” McDermid says. “It’s a good community and we want to serve it.” And if building a fishmongers with a food service component out of what used to be a simple retail clothing store might prove difficult (no venting, no grease trap, nor any of the other goodies), then so be it. It’s still an excellent address right in the heart of the Portland Craft, Crave, Sun Sui Wah, Acorn matrix, and they won’t want for foot traffic. Though parking can be a nasty bit of business in these blocks, there’s residential heartland on either side of Main, which means a lot of willing and curious pans, BBQs, fridges, and freezers.
The Fish Counter marks the first time either of them have ventured out on their own. That usually means that they have a major learning curve to surmount, not to mention all the usual mountains of red tape (and, seemingly, concrete), but listening to them talk about it makes me think they might just be able to leap over them using jet packs of their own enthusiasm. These guys are stoked to be doing what they’re doing, and that usually translates into good food. Add to their enthusiasm the authority of their expertise and the respect of pretty much the entire province and you have a favourable combo.
Expect them to leverage their well established relationships with local fishermen and administer their mastery of the local fish trade in such a way that translates into the best sustainable seafoods that this city has ever seen wrapped. “Our ultimate goal,” Clark states, “is to encourage people to source and cook sustainable seafood at home.” Think the best salmon, the best spot prawns, the best halibut, the best mussels, the best oysters…pretty much the best of everything that swims in our oceans, rivers and lakes and isn’t in danger of being over-fished; all handled in a way that makes other seafood stores look a little like withered apparitions from the Battle of Jutland.
“The system for retailing fish hasn’t changed in a hundred years,” Clark says, describing – in detail to me – how seafoods are treated elsewhere; rotated, squished, exposed to fluctuations in temperature, light, and pressure. “Our idea is to turn the whole idea of a fish store on its head,” he says, and if there’s any pair that could do it, it’s this one. Expect the daily-delivered products to be coddled in a system developed specifically – one might add meticulously – for The Fish Counter. “It’s not going to smell like a fish store in here. I can tell you that for sure,” Clark adds confidently.
In addition to its over the counter sales, The Fish Counter will come equipped with two kitchens to dish up take-out foods like Po’boy sandwiches, fish tacos, chowders and, according to Clark, “the best fish and chips in town.” This latter claim I do not doubt, as they’ve brought in Ian Johansen for the execution. Johansen is kind of an undersung maestro in Vancouver, an arbiter of the art of fish and chips. To join Clark and McDermid, he is moving on after a lengthy tenure at False Creek’s famed Go Fish. (Johansen’s brother Steve is the captain of the Organic Ocean fishing vessel moored nearby, and co-founder of the Spot Prawn Festival.)
There will be a few places to sit (modular benches at the front windows) but no liquor license. I imagine, however, that they’ll get to know the rules regarding special events licensing, as they plan on hosting special suppers, seminars, demos, and in-depth cooking classes once they’re up and settled in. We can also expect a small, branded retail component – mostly sauces and soups – which they’ll stock in boutique stores around town. Clark and McDermid insist that it won’t be anything fancy or complicated. “Try to imagine a farmer’s market” they quip, “but with fish.”
Andrew Morrison is the editor-in-chief of Scout and BC’s Senior Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and TV shows on local food, culture and travel. He live and works in the vibrant Strathcona neighbourhood, where he also collects inexpensive things and enjoys birds, skateboards, whisky, shoes, many songs, and the smell of wood fires.
The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | This spring, be the first to experience the newest spring release wines from B.C.’s very own Naramata Bench at Wine for Waves, presented by Vancouver Aquarium and Naramata Bench Wineries Association, while supporting the conservation of our oceans.
Join us at Wine for Waves on April 26 for a delightfully delicious evening as we uncork Naramata Bench’s newest spring release wines. Experience the best of the region right here in Vancouver while sampling tantalizing Ocean Wise culinary offerings. Meet Naramata Bench Wineries Association winemakers with their first blush of spring wines, and bid on incredible silent auction items of fine wines and exclusive packages.
Ocean Wise restaurant partners such as YEW restaurant + bar in Vancouver and Naramata Bench’s Hillside Winery and Bistro and Lake Breeze Vineyards, as well as additional winery restaurants from the Bench, will feature delectable tastings that charmingly complement the spectrum of the evening’s wines.
Wine for Waves benefits Vancouver Aquarium’s national sustainable seafood initiative, Ocean Wise, which works with restaurant, retailer, and supplier partners to offer ocean-friendly seafood items to consumers. Get all the details after the jump… Read more
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program released their newest video today to celebrate Ocean Wise month (aka November). As you can see, it features a giant octopus stuck on a the of a skyscraper in downtown Toronto. Because of course.
The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program proudly announces the 12 Vancouver Ocean Wise finalists who will compete head-to-head at this year’s 2012 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown, presented by Rickard’s and Granville Island Brewing. This year’s event takes place on November 21 at the Vancouver Aquarium. Tickets are available at vanaqua.org/chowder-chowdown.
“This friendly, but competitive, cook-off brings together 12 of Vancouver’s top chefs as they showcase their original ocean-friendly seafood chowders, paired with craft beer, at this fun and delicious consumer event,” says Mike McDermid, Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise partner relations manager. “The winner, who will be crowned 2012 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion, will be selected by a celebrity panel of judges, and guests are invited to vote for the People’s Choice winner at what promises to be memorable evening of unique and flavourful chowders, all in support of sustainable seafood.”
See the line-up of local Ocean Wise chefs contending for the winning title of Vancovuer Aquarium’s 2012 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Miradoro
Oliver, BC | Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has become one of the first “Salmon-Safe” certified vineyards in B.C. Their award-winning restaurant, Miradoro, has also joined the Ocean Wise program. “We’re very proud to announce that Tinhorn Creek has successfully passed a rigorous assessment that verifies our commitment to protecting the environment as well as advancing more eco-friendly practices throughout the Okanagan,” says Tinhorn Creek Winemaker and CEO Sandra Oldfield. The Salmon-Safe program looks at agricultural practices to protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and overall watershed health based on a detailed set of peer-reviewed guidelines. Examples of Tinhorn Creek’s management practices that address Salmon-Safe principles include: increasing water efficiency by switching to a drip irrigation system; active in planting native vegetation around riparian zones; choosing pesticides with less harmful impacts on aquatic life; and supporting biodiversity on the property through inter-seeding native species in the vineyard alleys.
As part of their commitment to Salmon-Safe principles, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards plans to enhance the ecosystem well-being of their vineyards by developing specialized “biodiversity islands”, which will help to ensure beneficial insects and wildlife have access to appropriate habitat. They also have plans to implement further measures that will slow down or capture water from major storm events.
Salmon-Safe and Tinhorn Creek’s certification is significant for the whole region as water conservation is a key priority in the Okanagan. Tinhorn Creek is committed to supporting the recovery of salmon in the Okanagan Basin, including Okanagan River sockeye (one of only two remaining populations of sockeye salmon in the international Columbia River Basin), by helping to set a high standard for land management practices and to raise awareness of the connection between agriculture and ecosystem health. For more information on the certification program visit www.salmonsafe.org/bc.
Not content with simply making changes to benefit the immediate environs of Tinhorn Creek, Miradoro Restaurant—named Best Winery/Vineyard Dining at the 23rd Annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards—recently confirmed its participation in the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program. “Conservation is important to us,” says Miradoro Executive Chef Jeff Van Geest, “Joining the Ocean Wise program is a great opportunity to educate and empower our guests about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood.” Ocean Wise works directly with restaurants, markets, food services and suppliers ensuring that they have the most current scientific information regarding seafood and helping them make ocean-friendly buying decisions. Read more
The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | Executive Chef Ned Bell at YEW restaurant + bar and Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver has always been a strong proponent of sustainable seafood – but this World Oceans Day on June 8, he’s taking his commitment to another level as the venue debuts as a new partner of Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program.
If you know anything about culinary master Ned Bell, you know you won’t be disappointed by the sumptuous Ocean Wise dinner he’ll be serving up that evening. Inspired by the oceans of the world – Indian, Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern – the dinner will celebrate our connection to the ocean. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program. Details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | Thursday, June 21 is the sixth annual iconic Night at the Aquarium gala fundraiser, the Vancouver Aquarium’s signature fundraising event. All proceeds of the event are a critical source of funding for the Aquarium’s conservation, research and education programs.
There is no other location in Vancouver where you can mingle with more than 50,000 wonderful sea creatures. Guests at the gala will enjoy a selection of wines from around the world paired with delicious Ocean Wise™ dishes prepared by some of Vancouver’s top chefs including executive chefs Rob Clarke of C Restaurant, Frank Pabst of Blue Water Café, David Hawksworth of Hawksworth Restaurant (VIP pre-reception) and Ned Bell of YEW restaurant and Four Seasons.
In addition, gala attendees will enjoy live music and entertainment, and have a chance to bid on a dream in the live and silent auctions. This year’s live auction will feature notable items such as an exclusive vacation package from Sonora Resort. Journey of the Salmon: From the stream to the plate will include a two-night stay, round-trip helicopter for two, one-hour eco-adventure tour on the inflatable Polaris vessel, raft and snorkel with the salmon session, cooking class, four-hour fishing session, and a signed Tastes of Sonora Cookbook for a total value of $6,800. Learn more after the jump… Read more