Two roving fish feasts support sustainable seafood in Vancouver

Photo sourced from the Fish Counter on Facebook

Photo sourced from the Fish Counter on Facebook

Vancouver has a bounty of fantastic seafood–and local chefs want to make sure it stays that way.

That’s why so many of them are involved with the sustainable seafood movement. For diners, that means an abundance of delicious events that support the cause.

Case in point: two upcoming roving feasts.

The first, on Sunday, September 27, is a Slow Fish Dinner. No, it’s not about fish that don’t swim fast enough to get away; rather, the name refers to the Slow Food movement.

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Two roving fish feasts support sustainable seafood in Vancouver

Jellyfish and barnacles: underrated seafood you might love

Blue Water Cafe chef Frank Pabst | Photo credit Brandon Hart

Blue Water Cafe chef Frank Pabst | Photo credit Brandon Hart

Ever tried jellyfish, sturgeon liver, or smelt? What about gooseneck barnacles, sea cucumber, or whelks?

Perhaps you’re wrinkling your nose right about now and wondering,”What the heck is a whelk?”

(Hint: executive chef Frank Pabst is holding one, above.)

Blue Water Cafe is featuring these and other under-appreciated sea creatures throughout February during the restaurant’s 11th annual are Unsung Heroes festival. The month-long event promotes sustainable seafood by urging diners to try something a little (or a lot) different from what they’re accustomed to eating.

The idea is to bring awareness to local and unique seafood and to avoid species that are over-fished or harvested in ways that can damage ocean beds. It’s a goal also promoted by the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise conservation program, of which Blue Water Cafe is a founding member.

Don’t worry: you don’t have to finish your plate or forgo the salmon you know you’ll love.

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Jellyfish and barnacles: underrated seafood you might love

Unsung Heroes of the Pacific served during 10th annual Vancouver seafood festival

Blue Water Cafe's rendition of sea urchin 2014

Blue Water Cafe’s rendition of sea urchin 2014

Each February, for the last 10 years, Blue Water Cafe chef Frank Pabst expands palates while supporting sustainable seafood.

Dubbed “Unsung Heroes”, Pabst initially created the month-long event to celebrate local and unique seafoods at the same time avoiding over-fished species or species harvested in ways that can damage ocean beds.

I am the Pabst target market: concerned about the environment, slightly hesitant land lubber raised eating the usual ocean suspects: salmon, halibut, crab, and oysters. I must admit when I was invited to a preview event I was a little nervous, I’m an adventurous eater but not entirely familiar with all the weird and wonderful fruits de mer. Luckily Pabst and his friendly and accommodating staff are proud to share their passion for delicious and ocean-friendly seafood at an affordable price (Unsung Heroes dishes range from $9.50 – $12.50).

“Our objective was – and is – to utilize lesser-known ingredients while introducing guests to new experiences and flavours,” says chef Pabst.  “The popularity of the event has increased tremendously and these formerly ‘unsung’ species are now heroes in their own right – they have truly entered the ‘mainstream’ of the public’s consciousness.”  Continue reading:
Unsung Heroes of the Pacific served during 10th annual Vancouver seafood festival

November is Ocean Wise Month: Support Sustainable Seafood

Filleting a Coho salmon. Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium

November is Ocean Wise month. A briny array Vancouver’s top seafood chefs, fishermen, fishmongers and even a B.C. oyster farmer recently gathered at ORU restaurant at The Fairmont Pacific Rim to celebrate sustainable seafood in coordination with the Vancouver Aquarium.

The event involved seafood prep demonstrations by the experts and, inevitably, eating. The Ocean Wise festivities were an enticing smorgasbord of local, sustainable seafood. Education has never been so tasty.

Rampant overfishing is the greatest threat to our oceans today. So what should we be consuming?  Which Vancouver restaurants serve sustainable seafood choices? Read on to find out. Continue reading:
November is Ocean Wise Month: Support Sustainable Seafood

Raincity Grill Celebrates 20 Years of Local, Sustainable Food

Sloping Hills Confitted Pork Belly at Raincity Grill. Photo: Dana Lynch

If you were on Denman Street or English Bay Beach today, you may have seen the yellow and purple balloons decorating the patios of Raincity Grill, one of Vancouver’s most famous and beloved restaurants. Those balloons were part of Raincity Grill’s anniversary party—the iconic restaurant turned 20 today!

Back in 1992, when Raincity Grill opened, locavore / local food sourcing wasn’t the mainstream trend it is today. As Raincity Grill’s owner, Harry Kambolis, explained to the Vancouver Sun, because he wanted to serve authentic West Coast cuisine, he and his first chef relied on fresh ingredients from the Granville Island Public Market, which in turn led to weekly menu changes (based on those fresh ingredients).  Locally-sourced food and weekly menus were a novelty in 1992, but, as we see today, Kambolis and Raincity Grill were simply ahead of the curve.

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Raincity Grill Celebrates 20 Years of Local, Sustainable Food