By Julieanne Agnew
Slow Fish Canada partnered with Chef’s Table Society to organize an amazing evening where eight of Vancouver’s local top chefs prepared eight sustainably raised and harvested seafood dishes which were paired with eight different Salmon Safe local wines for the 3rd Annual Slow Fish Dinner at the Pacific Culinary Arts, Granville Island, Vancouver, September 18.
The evening presented a rare opportunity to try some of the West Coast delicacies, like Gooseneck barnacles which are available off the west coast of Vancouver Island, and Geoduck, a delicacy very popular in Asia. Chef Lisa Ahier from SoBo in Tofino paired the gooseneck barnacles with fennel juice, sweet cipollini onions and Nanoose garlic.
Geoduck (Panopea generosa), a bivalve mollusk that is also known as King Clams, was definitely a highlight of the evening! They are known as the largest clams in the world and some geoducks can live over 100 years. The oldest was recorded in Canada at 168 years. They also take 12 years to reach maturity and commercial geoduck harvesters are very conscious of not over harvesting. Chef Bruno Feldeisen from Semiahoo Resort prepared the geoduck in a sashimi style, which was accompanied by a charred corn and peach salad, avocado and Yuzu olive oil dressing which married West Coast and Pacific Rim cuisine beautifully, echoing the current market that geoduck currently dominates in: Asia. Over 90% of the geoduck harvest is sent to China and Hong Kong. The local market is starting to use it more, but predominately in Asian fine dining restaurants.
Every dish was superbly prepared and featured seafood that was harvested with sustainable and fair ethics in mind. The questions of availability and traceability were emphasized by Ecotrust Canada as Meeru Dhalwala from Vij’s/Rangoli/My Shanti prepared a dish with Ling cod in a creamy Bengaly curry. Ecotrust’s Eric Tamm, who manages their Traceability program, gave out traceability cards that allow to trace the code of the fish and find out where the Ling Cod was caught.
Chef Ned Bell prepared Humpback Shrimp in a light, healthy dish with squash, citrus, and sprouted whole grains, which shines light on our local, lesser known species of shrimp rather than the commonly used overseas shrimp and prawns that dominates the market. One of my favorite dishes of the evening was done by Chef Roger Ma, of Boulevard Kitchen, who prepared grilled pacific octopus with local heirloom tomatoes, and dressed it with puffed quinoa accompanied by a distinct house made mayonnaise.
The unique Honey Mussels from remote Lasqueti Island, which is found in the middle of the Salish Sea (southwest of Texada Island, north of French Creek on Vancouver Island) were highlighted in a Vietnamese style confit with roasted peanuts by Thompson Tran from the Wooden Boat. Karen Barnaby, in partnership with Albion Fisheries, took the underappreciated local pink salmon, cured it, and plated it with fermented Brussel sprouts, pureed beets and buckwheat kernels.
This event continues to be a successful collaboration between Slow Fish and the Chef’s Table Society and creates an informative evening full of good food and good conversation!