The Chefs’ Table Society’s Slow Fish Dinner

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The Chefs’ Table Society of BC once again celebrated local sustainable seafood with their second annual Slow Fish Dinner held on Sunday, September 28, 2015 at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. The event is designed to raise awareness for Slow Fish Canada (a Slow Food initiative) that focuses on finding local solutions to support better management of Canada’s freshwater and marine resources. Eight of Vancouver’s top chefs participated in the event, each preparing tasting-size dishes of sustainable local seafood. Chefs participating included Ned Bell, Yew Restaurant + Bar at the Four Seasons, Andrea Carlson, Burdock & Co, Robert Clark, The Fish Counter, Scott Jaeger, the Pear Tree, Greg McCallum, L’Abattoir, Alana Peckham, Alligga, Dino Renaerts, Bon Vivant Group and Chris Whittaker, Forage.

Each chefs’ dish was paired with wines from BC’s Salmon-Safe wineries. Salmon-Safe began in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1994 which began certifying farms and wineries that practiced safe land management that would protect the West Coast watersheds allowing salmon to thrive and remain healthy. Today over 350 vineyards and farms have been Salmon-Safe certified in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2010, the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and the Fraser Basin Council jointly launched Salmon-Safe in BC and to date have certified over 40 farms and vineyards. BC Salmon-Safe certified wineries participating in the Slow Fish dinner included Rustic Roots Winery, St. Hubertus Estate Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Covert Farms Family Estate, Haywire Winery, Sage Hills Wine, See Ya Later Ranch, Kalala Organic Estate Winery, vinPerdu Cellars, and Inniskillin Estate Winery.

The roving dinner event had guests wandering into eight of PICA’s working kitchens, watching participating chefs in action and tasting each chef’s dish paired with a wine-tasting. Crowd favourites included chef Ned Bell’s Skipper Otto ling cod tacos paired with Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series 2Bench White, chef Alana Peckham’s sustainable halibut paired with Kalala 2013 Gewürtztraminer and chef Scott Jaeger’s Outlandish Shellfish Guild scallops paired with Sage Hills 2013 Syrah Rosé.

For many this was the first time to try lesser known local and sustainable seafood. Wild goose barnacles, a rare and special delicacy were showcased by chef Andrea Carlson and beautifully paired with Covert Farms 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. Sea urchin revered in Japan where it is known as “uni”, is only just beginning to gain a local Vancouver following. Chef Greg McCallum’s dish, Sea Urchin Royale paired with See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Noir revealed to many first time eaters why sea urchin is known as the “foie gras of the sea”. A long-time advocate for wild pink salmon, chef Robert Clark’s dish of Rick Burns pickled pink salmon and Helmer’s Organic Farm potato salad paired with Haywire Pinot Gris, proved that pink salmon is not only sustainable but delicious. Chef Chris Whittaker’s excellent dish of grilled octopus with chickpeas and beets paired with Inniskillian Chardonnay showed why Pacific octopus has become the new “it dish” for Vancouver restaurants. Finally, the outstanding dish of the evening went to Chef Dino Renaerts for his Squid ink risotto with Geoduck (also known as King Clam) paired with vinPerdu 2014 Pinot Gris. Geoduck pronounced “gooey-duck” is a must eat for those who worship clams.

For seafood lovers, see you in 2016 and remember to buy tickets early as this is always a sold-out event.