Chef Ned Bell has long been one of the leading chefs in Canada who has gone beyond cooking seafood, to making sustainable seafood his mission.
Ned’s passion for ocean conservation shines the brightest in his fearless ways of tackling ambitious projects. For example, being an avid cyclist, Ned decided to ride across the country in 2014 in order to raise awareness for sustainable seafood and founded Chefs for Oceans. During his time as the executive chef at the Four Seasons’ YEW Seafood + Bar restaurant, Ned created a 100 per cent Ocean Wise menu. The sustainable concept was a hit, and caused sales at YEW to rocket from $6.5 million to $8.5 million squashing anyone’s doubts that businesses can meet the demand for sustainable seafood while remaining profitable.
When it comes to daunting goals, Ned has the savvy for pulling together his resources and using his abilities to achieve the changes he wants to see. In 2016, Ned joined Ocean Wise as executive chef – and now, a year later, he has released his first cookbook called LURE: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast.
LURE inspires the home cook to try sustainable seafood recipes. The recipes themselves are approachable, and cover all sustainable West Coast species from albacore tuna to kelp, including sustainably farmed species such as oysters and Arctic char. In addition to recipes like Ned’s famous Dungeness crab tacos and his (sea)weed brownies, LURE includes a lot practical information about the sustainable seafood itself. If you have ever wondered about the seasonality of the different West Coast seafood species, the book includes a handy chart so that you can pinpoint when items are at their peak freshness and availability.
Buying and storing fish and shellfish is also addressed; information which makes the idea of cooking a seafood dish much less intimidating. If you need a refresher on the Ocean Wise seafood program, there is a section explaining how the eco-logo works. There’s even a handy question and answer page for tips on making sustainable choices like “favour filter feeders.” The end of the book features species profiles with photographs of the whole fish or shellfish for those who would like more information on each species beyond their use in a dish. Overall, the combination of great recipes and information makes LURE a great resource on sustainable seafood from the Pacific ocean.
AquaBlog post by Claire Li, Ocean Wise Seafood program Account Representative