Local Celebrity Chef Wants Seafood Lovers to Think Pink

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Chef Robert Clark prepares pink salmon barbeque at Pink Salmon Festival
Chef Robert Clark prepares pink salmon samples for the hungry public at the 2011 Pink Salmon Festival.

Recent news stories about devastating Fraser Sockeye returns have raised alarm bells among salmon lovers and environmentalists alike. With 9 million pinks posed to flood the Fraser River and groceries stores in August, there’s a silver lining for seafood lovers that want to eat sustainably. That’s the message that local celebrity chef Robert Clark will help the Pacific Salmon Foundation drive home on Sunday, August 25 at Vancouver’s Hadden Park from noon to 5 PM.

Long-time seafood sustainability advocate and executive chef Robert Clark, will prepare the menu to showcase pink salmon as a delicious and sustainable alternative to other salmon species.

Born in Montreal and raised on the Gaspe Peninsula, Clark’s passion for cooking and the environment was formed at a young age. He grew up cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen and angling along the salmon-rich York River. Through indulging in these childhood pastimes, he learned to appreciate the value of fresh fish and the delicate ecosystem that supports it. Today he is a part of a growing legion of chefs that believe that restaurants have a unique opportunity to help contribute to the environment by educating people about their food choices.

Clark has been instrumental in the creation of the annual Spotted Prawn festival in Vancouver, assisting the Vancouver Aquarium in developing and launching the Ocean Wise program, and has sat on the board of the B.C. Chefs’ Table Society since its beginning. In March 2011, Clark was awarded the Seafood Champion Award from SeaWeb for his oceans advocacy work. Recently, he opened his own sustainable seafood shop called The Fish Counter.

“Our message to the public is that we as consumers have the power to ensure that salmon have a future for us to enjoy,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president & CEO of the Foundation. “Salmon are a keystone species in British Columbia from a cultural, environmental and economic perspective. Pink salmon, which are expected to be particularly abundant this year in the Fraser River, have the ability to serve as an abundant human food source while also adequately supporting ecosystems that depend on them for survival. Pink salmon can truly be sustainable seafood in practice and not just words.”

The cook line-up will also include international barbeque champion Rockin’ Ronnie Schewchuk and Chateau Victoria’s executive chef Garrett Schack. Attendees can also enjoy plenty of free family-friendly fun. Highlights such as interactive eco-system based storytelling, a kid’s fishing booth, face painting, music, touch-tanks, educational displays and the science tent with Canada’s leading salmon scientist Dr. Brian Riddell promise for a fun-packed event with plenty of learning opportunities for all. More info: www.psf.ca