Chongqing OceanWise Media Launch/Dr. John Nightingale, President & CEO, Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program works directly with restaurants, markets, food services and suppliers to ensure they have the most current scientific information regarding sustainable seafood and to help them make ocean-friendly buying decisions. The options are highlighted on their menus and display cases with the Ocean Wise symbol, making it easier for consumers to make ocean-friendly seafood choices.

Chongqing OceanWise Media Launch
[Szechuan Chongqing Restaurant receives the Ocean Wise plaque]
L to R: Kevin Huang; Executive Chef Robert Wong; Lisa Wong; Tara Teng, Miss World Canada 2012; Mike McDermid]

And on Wednesday afternoon, Szechuan Chongqing became Canada’s first Chinese seafood restaurant to don the Ocean Wise symbol on its menu. Media were invited to the restaurant to meet Executive Chef Robert Wong, sample his fine seafood dishes, and learn about Ocean Wise’s sustainable seafood program.

Chongqing OceanWise Media Launch/Chef Robert Wong preparing a sablefish
[Chef Robert Wong preparing a sablefish]

Although Ocean Wise’s Mike McDermid hopes to see the program go global, right now it’s staying within Canada. However, both France and Australia have started out a similar program within their food communities.

Chongqing OceanWise Media Launch/Chef Robert Wong

Chongqing is really happy to have joined the program, even though it means added costs of between 10 and 15% on average. It’s more important for Chef Wong and his team to serve up quality seafood in their dishes. Sablefish for example, is a higher end product that’s now made its way onto the menu. We sampled delicious sablefish in a chili sauce with minced yellow onion.

Chongqing OceanWise Media Launch
[Handmade peony pastry with lotus paste]

There were a few other dishes served, such as Emperor style Szechuan prawns, oyster shooters in a cocktail citrus lemon juice, and for dessert, colourful handmade peony pastries filled with lotus paste were served on large platters.

According to Mike McDermid, “Ocean Wise hopes that you’ll support the effort and insist on sustainable seafood or else the program won’t work!”

Chongqing OceanWise Media Launch/Mussels in Szechuan Bouillabaisse
[Mussels in Szechuan Bouillabaisse]

The program now has over 500 partners across Canada and has begun an online training program to get chefs up to speed with its facets. It’s also garnered several awards including the Pinnacle Award for Supplier of the Year in 2009, and the Green Living Toronto, CASCADE, and Peter Karsten Conservation Awards in 2012.

For more information on what Ocean Wise means to our fish population, visit the website.

Chongqing interior. Photo by Shark Truth
[Chongqing interior photo courtesy of Shark Truth]

Enjoy Szechuan style dishes at Chongqing, located at 205-1668 West Broadway in Vancouver.

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