To celebrate the incredible marine diversity of the Pacific Canadian coast, Slow Food Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands and The London Chef cooking school have organized a series of Slow Fish events over the past few months.
The first, held in January, was dedicated to shellfish. The chef and culinary instructor, Dan Hayes, prepared a delicious small-plate dinner honoring seasonal and local ingredients, like the native Olympia oyster, scallops, crab legs and mussels. As diners enjoyed these local treasures, John Volpe, a renowned academic who works on marine systems restoration and conservation at the Victoria University of British Columbia, spoke about sustainable local choices and how the farmed shellfish industry is affecting our environment, leading a discussion about local shellfish.
The second dinner, held in March, was themed around bycatch and small fish. It focused on lesser-known fish and mollusks that are often forgotten or abandoned at sea, such as skate, octopus, pilchards, dogfish, flounder and other treats fresh from the Sidney dayboats. Professor Volpe again enlightened the session with his insights into our fishing future and what should ideally be on our plates when choosing Northern Pacific West Coast fish.
The third and last event, to be held on May 29, revolves around “sea things” like seaweed, sea urchins and sea asparagus. During this intriguing session, guests will learn about foraging from the beach and tidal waters, edible seaweed, the ecological balance of our ocean gardens and salt production. Diane Bernard, also known as the Seaweed Lady, is working to change seaweed’s image and has founded the Outer Coast Seaweeds company. She’ll be providing foraged seaweeds to identify and sample, while chef Naotatsu Ito from Daidoco will be cooking in the kitchen.
Get a taste of the events from this video.
Photo: Hélène Cyr. You can see more photos of the events on her blog.