Food Talks Volume 1

Earlier this week at W2 Woodwards Community Media Arts Café, food lover and writer Richard Wolak launched the first edition in his Vancouver Food Talks series. Appetizers, iced tea, and a glass of Misconduct Wine were served pre-event, courtesy of W2’s Chef Karen McAthy. Five prominent speakers each gave a short talk about what drives their passion within the food industry.

Below is a quick recap of what each speaker offered; a Q&A session and prize raffle followed. Specially created treats from Soirette Macarons were handed out as we exited the event.

Food Talks Volume 1
[Mike McDermid, Manager, Ocean Wise Program at the Vancouver Aquarium]

Mike McDermid, Manager, Ocean Wise Program at the Vancouver Aquarium:

1.2 billion people rely on seafood as a dietary substance. Based on current extraction rates, we’re running out of stock and soon. Started in 2005, Ocean Wise helps to empower consumers to make the right choice.

It’s hard for chefs to know what the impact is of certain fish species caught. Vancouver Aquarium stepped in to help them decide. And the chefs were happy to have the help. At the end of the day, they wanted to know that they were doing right by our oceans.

People all over North America started to contact Ocean Wise for information. Within six to seven years, the program has grown to 3,100 active sources: an incredible amount of buying power. The Ocean Wise network helps connect sources with the chefs, stores and markets, making it easy for consumers to identify what the right choices are. They’ve started to change the way that seafood is both sourced and its fisheries operated. Fisheries now get value for their product.

Local, seasonal, organic, fair trade: “We’re just starting to get there with seafood.”

Food Talks Volume 1
[Stephanie Yuen, East Meets West author]

Stephanie Yuen, East Meets West author and food columnist:

Compared to 30 years ago, there are about 1,000% more Asian restaurants in Vancouver. Asian food in Vancouver does a tremendous amount of good for its food scene. Stephanie went on to talk about her latest book, East Meets West, then discussed the importance of freshly sourced products, avoiding shark fin fishing, and our local Asian food community. Her book will be launched this Saturday, June 9, from 2 to 4 pm at Shaktea, 3702 Main Street.

Food Talks Volume 1
[Hunter Moyes, Chef, Waldorf Hotel; founder Vancouver Tiffin Project]

Hunter Moyes, Chef, The Waldorf Hotel:

NGO’s have problems bringing out numbers to events, but when food is involved, that number triples. Three key issues that Hunter discussed were local vs. imported produce, waste, and food security.

CSA (community-supported agriculture) relies on a large number of small-consumption clients. Being part of food industry, why not take that number and get a small number of large-consumption clients to make a difference?

We’ll fall back onto small farmers as gas prices continue to rise. Moyes has launched a Vancouver version of the Tiffin Project. Originated in India in 1880, this is a meal delivery system where hundreds of thousands of meals are delivered and catered without waste.

Moyes formerly worked at Burgoo West Point Grey. There he saw how thousands of dollars of take-out containers went out the door. This led him to think about a local campaign. He’s gathered a group of Vancouver restaurants to eliminate take-out waste. Profit margin: $4 of each reusable container goes towards researching ways of eliminating more waste. As well, proceeds will serve to educate the public. Follow his project on Twitter: @TiffinProject

Food Talks Volume 1
[Trevor Bird, Top Chef Canada; Fable Kitchen Restaurant Executive Chef]

Trevor Bird, Top Chef Canada and Fable Kitchen Restaurant Executive Chef:

Trevor’s all about bridging the gap with sourced food. Fable Kitchen wants to know about the animals they serve. What’s their life span? Where are there genetics from?

“Just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s sustainable”. Chef Bird then went on to colourfully describe his experience being on Top Chef Canada and how he respects Carl Heinrich for what he’s learned from him. Bird is glad that the Food Network chose Carl as the winning Top Chef Canada.

Food Talks Volume 1
[Roberta LaQuaglia, Vancouver Farmers Markets]

Roberta LaQuaglia of Vancouver Farmers Markets:
The public has taken to the farmers markets. Community is developed through the markets, creating small villages with temporary stalls. Roberta believes that the public should be educated about their food sources and options.

Markets have a vibe. Farmer’s markets equate to laughter, good times, music, etc. People get connected with “their market”. There’s a pride associated with it. Vancouver Farmer’s Markets are grateful for their customer base.

Growers have to feel that it’s worth their while to come in and sell their product. The average age of BC farmers is 54. Therefore, new farmers need to get introduced to the community so that the current generation can retire while passing on their knowledge.

On a humorous side note, Trevor Bird proposed starting a celebrity farmer movement.

Tickets for Food Talks Volume 2 are now on sale via Vancouver Foodster. Visit the event link for information and to purchase tickets.


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