Tacofino Chef Stefan Hartmann Gives a Supplier Shout Out to ‘Natural Gift Seafoods’

Scout works with a lot of local restaurants to get the word out about the cool and delicious things they’re doing, but they couldn’t do what they do without access to awesome ingredients. To get what they need, culinary creatives depend on personal networks of passionate artisans, farmers and producers who often work hard without ever seeing the glory they deserve. Since it’s always good to recognize those who have your back, we bring you the Supplier Shout Out!

Today, we hear from Tacofino‘s Regional Executive Chef, Stefan Hartmann, about a phenomenal family business that supplies ethically caught fish for two of the restaurant’s favourite menu items…

Which one of your suppliers do you want to give a shout out to? Natural Gift Seafoods.

Why are you excited to use their fish, in particular? Natural Gift Seafoods is based out of Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island. It’s a family operation owned by Ian Bryce that plies the North Pacific from California to Haida Gwaii for Albacore Tuna on a vessel called the NERKA #1.

They launched the business when they came to the realization that because most of the North Pacific Albacore Tuna was being snapped up by sushi restaurants or being shipped to markets overseas there was a dearth of the fish available locally. Ian and his team use only their own premium hook-and-line, troll-caught Albacore Tuna for all of their products, which are processed and packaged in HAACP-inspected and -approved facilities.

What makes this supplier so great to work with? Ian is a great local supplier and partner for us, and has been friends with (Tacofino Co-Founder and -Owner) Jay Sussman for a long time. We are proud to feature Ian’s products on our menu.

One of the reasons we love working with Natural Gift Seafoods is that once the fish are caught, they are immediately put on freezer plates in the hold — the fast freezing and extremely cold temperatures ensure that the fish maintains its high quality from the moment it’s caught until the moment we receive and serve it.

They’re not just a great friend and supplier — they also are concerned with ecological sustainability and eschewing destructive and energy intensive commercial fishing methods. They pride themselves on being one of the ‘greenest and cleanest’ in the world. They are eco-certified by the Marine Stewardship Council; they contribute a portion of all of their sales to the Nature Trust of BC; and their troll-caught tuna has been recognized as ocean-friendly and the ‘best of the best’ by both the Ocean Wise and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch programs.

How is this ingredient featured on your menu? Our Tuna Taco ($7.50) at Kitsilano comprises soy-glazed albacore tuna, wasabi mayo, wakame, pickled ginger and nori, while our Tuna Burrito ($14) includes all those ingredients, as well as lime rice. The Albacore Tuna Taco ($7.50) is also available at our Hastings Commissary location, but with ginger and pickled beets as a modification.

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