SeaFood Business

APR 2014

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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Page 42 of 62

Photos courtesy of Blue Water Café Singing for the Unsung Blue Water Café celebrates niche species 38 SeaFood Business April 2014 Visit us online at BY LAUREN KRAMER W hen Frank P a b s t started his U n s u n g H e r o e s sustainable seafood festival at Vancouver's Blue Water Café 10 years ago, his main motivation had nothing to do with increasing trafc at this trendy, fne-dining hot spot. A founding member of the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise conservation program, the 47-year-old executive chef was driven by a sense of responsibil- ity to initiate, promote and improve the festival held each February. He hoped to bring awareness to local, niche seafood species that are often overlooked, and to avoid species that he deems unsustainable. "Being a chef at a seafood restaurant and the father of two children, sustainability is kind of a no-brainer," he says. "I have a responsibility to choose seafood that's sus- tainable, plentiful and high quality. I want to make sure that in 10 years, when my kids are adults, there's still salmon and halibut around and they can enjoy going out and seeing all these fsh on restaurant menus." It's no coincidence that the festival takes place in Febru- ary, when West Coast salmon are out of season. Te goal of the menu is to encourage din- ers to try underutilized spe- cies by packaging them with more familiar ingredients. Te sturgeon liver is served as a pâté with white anchovy br- uschetta, marinated red pep- per and bufalo mozzarella, while the sardine is stufed with pine nut gremolata and wrapped in a thin sheet of fried bread and the herring tartare is paired with ginger, shiso and green onion and ponzu sauce. Among the 12 items on the Unsung Heroes menu are jellyfsh, mackerel, octopus, seaweed salad, sea cucumber and whelk, and all of them are priced between $9 and $12 per entrée. Pre- vious years have featured steamed gooseneck barnacles and poached periwinkles. "Te menu is not really meant to commit our guests to a whole evening of Un- sung Heroes," says Pabst, who hails from Aachen, Germany. "Our initial thought was to have them as sharing plates on a table, so people could try them and discuss the tex- tures and favors. Often they have a stronger favor than, say, halibut, so we're trying to come up with packages to make them approachable. For example, we use the sea urchin as an ingredient in a mousse with scallop meat, eggs and whipped cream, to give din- ers the favor of sea urchin, but slightly toned down." Te opportunity to work with diferent species each February is also a fun one for the kitchen staf, he says. "As much as we like to work with halibut, sturgeon and Arctic char, it's nice to work with stronger favors, items that are a bit more unique." Housed in a brick and beam heritage warehouse, the 450-seat restaurant is owned by the Toptable Group, which has fve eat- eries in British Columbia. Blue Water's menu is focused almost entirely on seafood, both wild and farmed. "I'm a proud supporter of farmed products, as long as they're farmed sustainably," says Pabst. He sources Arctic char farmed in the Yukon, white sturgeon farmed by Target Marine Hatchery in Sechelt, British Columbia, and oysters, shellfsh, mus- sels and clams shipped from various farms several times a week. Of the wild seafood, the majority is line- or trap- caught. A raw bar on one side of the restaurant delivers ni- giri, sashimi and innovative combinations of sushi rolls, while two live tanks in the kitchen contain geoducks, sea urchins, spot prawns, crabs and lobsters, depending on the season. Opposite the raw bar is an open kitchen where staf prepare seafood on ice and a variety of entrées that accentuate its east meets west theme, including sablefsh in a miso sake glaze and Arctic char with wakame seaweed. Pabst is thrilled that sales Behind the Line Obscure seafood species like octopus have a chance to shine at Blue Water Café. "Being a chef at a seafood restaurant and the father of two children, sustainability is kind of a no-brainer." — Frank Pabst, chef, Blue Water Café Continued on page 41 36_WhatsInStore_38btl_40SpecFeat_41jump.indd 38 3/24/14 3:20 PM

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