On July 31st I had the honour of meeting and speaking with Vancouver Chef Ned Bell at a reception hosted by the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto.
Bell, executive chef of Vancouver’s Yew Seafood + Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver, is midway through a coast-to-coast journey to raise awareness for, and accessibility to, sustainable seafood.
The “Chefs for Oceans” tour, which kicked off June 30th in St. John’s, Newfoundland, will see Ned temporarily ditch the chef jacket for a cycling shirt to bike across Canada from coast-to-coast, riding between 140km – 200km each “cycling” day, making stops in 20 major cities along the route to speak with media and participate in events, while promoting local businesses that support, sell, and serve sustainable seafood. Concluding in Vancouver on September 11, 2014 , the three month long tour will also be raising funds through these events and the sale of the cleverly labeled “Ned Tuna”, which will see portions of the net proceeds donated to Ocean Wise, SeaChoice.org, and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).
Bell established his Chefs for Oceans campaign to bring awareness to, and educate, the public, media, and fellow Canadian chefs and restaurants about the dangers of over-fishing, not taking care of our lakes, rivers and oceans, and not being environmental or socially responsible with our methods of fishing and harvesting.
“Chefs for Oceans” is not about me, it’s about my peers. Chefs have a really unique ability to spread the message, raise awareness, and I really think it’s our responsibility to concern ourselves. – Ned Bell
But it’s not all doom and gloom! Bell is also promoting his passion for cooking seafood on this journey, with some of the top chefs across the country, while opening up the conversation about building a sustainable seafood industry to ensure it is availability for generations to come. We were treated to several tasty tidbits of sustainable seafood at the event. I tried Geoduck (pronounced “gooey duck”) & Abalone for the first time, and then enjoyed a few trips to the oyster station for some freshly shucked east coast oysters. I didn’t take pictures of the food for this one, as I wanted the focus to be on the message of the event, rather than hors d’oeuvres. But trust me, they were tasty and well presented.
Bell’s “Big hairy audacious goal” as he likes to call it (bhag for short) is to have sustainable seafood accessible to every Canadian within the next decade. He is also in the processes of lobbying for a dedicated National Sustainable Seafood Day here in Canada (to happen on March 18th) which would coincide with Australia, the only other nation to have a dedicated sustainable seafood awareness day.
As someone who decided to add more seafood to her diet, but is decidedly intimidated and uneducated about it, this movement could come at a better time.
Click here for a great infographic highlighting some of the stats, what to eat, what to avoid, and what to look for!
You can follow along with Chef Bell via various outlets!
Information about the tour and events along the way can be found here: http://chefsforoceans.com
While cycling, Bell is wearing a GoPro portable video camera, filming footage, sharing video diaries, blogs, and recipes along the way, which can all be found here:
Looking forward to tracking his journey, learning more about Sustainable seafood, and trying some of his delicious looking recipes!