Isabella Sulpizio, Ocean Wise Seafood

Exceptional food is often paired with stimulating conversation, and this year’s Terroir Symposium, held in Toronto, was a prime example of this ideal. Every year, this symposium brings together innovative and creative influencers in the field of hospitality from around the world, including chefs, food and beverage experts, entrepreneurs, writers and business leaders, for a full day of networking, conversation and collaboration.

This time, the theme of the hospitality and tourism event was Choice: Risks and Rewards in a Changing Food Culture. The theme of Choice could be found across every aspect of this event, from the multi-directional signposts on the stage that accompanied each speaker, to the endless amount of food offered the attendees. The day’s presentations were also deeply rooted in the idea of choice; most attempted to encourage attendees to make better choices within their businesses and to make choices to build a better industry as well as a stronger environment.

Breakfast at Terroir, which featured amazing foods produced in Ontario, quickly woke up participants.

One panel, titled “A Difficult Choice: Farmed vs. Wild Seafood,” highlighted some of the confusion that consumers and chefs alike face when purchasing seafood on a daily basis. Panelist Ned Bell, executive chef of the Ocean Wise Seafood program, was quick to point out that this conversation should be framed as farmed and wild rather than farmed vs. wild, because both options are required to feed our growing global population. Representatives on the panel included Paul Uys of the Arrell Food Institute and the Marine Stewardship Council, Jennifer Johnston of Fisherfolk and Marvyn Budd from Planet Shrimp.

Panelists, including Ocean Wise exec chef Ned Bell, discuss sustainable seafood options.

The panel was moderated by Terroir founder Arlene Stein, who led the conversation in the direction of understanding the differences between the wild and farmed sustainable options. The panelists pointed out that aquaculture is a growing industry, and within that industry, there are many impressive technological advancements. The Planet Shrimp facility, located in Ontario, is a perfect example of sustainable aquaculture that is backed by new technology. The downside of new technology is cost, which can be reflected in the price of product from Planet Shrimp, but the hope is that with time, technology will become more widely available and the cost of production will go down. The end result of the panel discussion was that there is room for both farmed and wild options to be solutions for a sustainable future, and what salmon sustainability comes down to is how it is being farmed and how it is being caught.

The Terroir symposium is a unique event that really places its finger on the pulse of the hospitality and tourism industry. This iteration of the event was also an opportunity to reflect on the choices that we all make, whether as businesses or individuals, and explore whether those choices are the best, most sustainable options. The next Terroir Symposium takes place May 4t , 2020, and I can hardly wait.

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