More chefs and suppliers have stepped up to ensure the future of the Vancouver Aquarium by supporting the #ChefsforVancouverAquarium fundraiser.
The new chef, restaurant and supplier partners include Ashley Jongsma (The Stock Market), Chef David Robertson and Chef Takashi Mizukami (The Dirty Apron), Chef Taka Omi (Benkei Ramen), Chef Tatsuya Katagiri (STEM Japanese Eatery) and Jason Pleym (Two Rivers Specialty Meats). They join chefs like Alex Chen (Boulevard), Hamid Salimian (Popina Canteen), and Chef Amanda Cheng / Chef Makoto Ono (Mak n Ming) in supporting this initiative.
Chefs are cooking and selling batches of sustainable seafood chowder (and other delicious seafood dishes, such as ramen and curry) with proceeds going to support the not-for-profit Vancouver Aquarium, which remains in serious financial difficulty as a result of closing March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of the ingredients available to the chefs for their chowders – including sustainably harvested Haida Gwaii razor clams, sablefish and salmon, right down to the cream, butter and gluten-free flour – are being donated free of charge by fishers and suppliers including Ocean Mama, Freshline, Organic Ocean, Gindara Sablefish, Nextjen, Intercity Packers, Deluxe Seafood, Sysco, Skipper Otto, West Coast Wild Scallops, Oyster & King Specialty Organic Mushrooms, Exotic Orchard Produce, Legends Haul and Blundell Seafoods.
The fundraiser continues until June 8 (World Oceans Day), or while chowder supplies last.
Chowders and other #ChefsforVancouverAquarium dishes are now available at each chef’s restaurant, location or partner location. Most chefs are selling their chowder fresh or frozen in 1 litre reusable take-away containers for $20 (with a minimum of $15 going to Vancouver Aquarium). Some chefs will serve their chowder or dish in smaller portions as part of their menu (with a minimum of 75% of proceeds to Vancouver Aquarium, although many chefs are being more generous).
Here is the full list of participating chefs as of May 29. Check the #ChefsforVancouverAquarium webpage (vanaqua.org/saveva/chowder) and follow #ChefsforVancouverAquarium on Instagram for the latest updates.
*On sale while supplies last! We recommend you contact the restaurant/chef in advance to determine how to order your chowder, pick-up hours/details, and to ensure they continue to have chowder in stock!
Forage’s hand-shredded BBQ Duck and BC Scallop Chowder
Chef Welbert Choi
Since closing to the public on March 17, the not-for-profit Vancouver Aquarium has lost millions in ticket revenue that would normally support animal care and ocean conservation programs. The lost revenue has put the Vancouver Aquarium in a precarious financial position. Even after dramatic cost cutting, the organization is still faced with more than $1 million a month in operation and facility expenses. Even when the Aquarium is able to re-open, it will be months, if not years, before the organization will be able to recover from the business impacts of COVID-19.
Here’s what the chefs and seafood suppliers have to say about the Vancouver Aquarium and Ocean Wise:
“The Vancouver Aquarium has done so much for the sustainable seafood movement and has inspired a nation of chefs to be champions for our oceans. It’s because of the Ocean Wise Seafood program that so many local and Canadian chefs have had the opportunity to learn about sustainable seafood, work for restaurants that are embracing it, cook for guests who continue to ask for it, and be ambassadors in the global effort towards ocean conservation. – Chef Ned Bell, co-owner of The Naramata Inn and former Executive Chef of Ocean Wise
“When I heard about the difficulties faced by the Vancouver Aquarium of course I wanted to help. I think people in Vancouver forget how far we’ve come with the sustainable seafood movement over the past 15 years. So much of the progress is due to the robust program the Vancouver Aquarium built.” – Chef Rob Clark, owner of The Fish Counter and co-founder of the Ocean Wise Seafood program
“Every chef, fisher, and supplier that we spoke to immediately volunteered to support. Huge thanks to all the amazing seafood and product suppliers who stepped up with free product, including Ocean Mama, Freshline, Organic Ocean, Gindara Sablefish, Nextjen, Intercity Packers, Deluxe Seafood and Sysco. I hope that our actions inspire others to make a difference, in their own way, during this challenging time.” – Chef Will Lew, one of the organizers of the fundraiser
“My kids grew up visiting the Vancouver Aquarium. We spent a lot of time there over the years. It’s where they learned to appreciate the facts and the stories of the living organisms in the ocean. And with Boulevard being a seafood restaurant, Ocean Wise is a very important part of our DNA. Of course we want to continue to support.” – Chef Alex Chen, Executive Chef of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar
“The aquarium is more than just a place to see animals. It’s an interactive learning space that focuses on practical conservation that’s tangible to guests. They’ve been integral in showing the public what sustainable seafood is, and how’s it’s actually very accessible! We are proud to lend a hand and provide a tasty Ocean Wise chowder for our guests to help raise funds and awareness for such a special place in our hearts.” – Malindi Taylor, Fanny Bay Oyster Bar & Shellfish Market and Taylor Shellfish
“We are in this together and we need to support each other. Together we will come out of this.” – Chef Hamid Salimian, Vancouver Community College, Popina Canteen and NextJen
“Ocean Wise does a tremendous amount of ocean conservation work via education, research, rehabilitation and science. Gindara Sablefish shares these same ocean conservation values. Knowing that COVID-19 has severely impacted the financial stability of the Vancouver Aquarium and Ocean Wise, it was important for us to take action and to help support during these difficult times. We believe that the world post-COVID needs organizations like the Vancouver Aquarium and Ocean Wise to still be around for the health of our oceans – which after all, is tied to the health of communities and people around the world.” – Claire Li, Sustainability Director at Gindara Sablefish
“I’m just happy to help shine a light on all the hard work the Ocean Wise team does on a daily basis. The years of great conservation work and the amount of educational material they produce on a daily basis is astounding. They are a key part that helps Canada and the world stay active in keeping our Oceans alive for generations to come. Now, more than ever, is a great time to come together and help this great organization.” – Chef Poyan Danesh, Culinary Director and Chief Sustainability Officer, Ocean Mama Seafood
“At Freshline, our mission is to connect our local communities by increasing accessibility to high-quality, sustainable food ingredients. And over the past five years, there’s no other organization that’s pushed this vision more than Ocean Wise and the Vancouver Aquarium. When we were contacted by the organization to donate and help amplify the campaign, it wasn’t a matter of if we could participate – it was how. We ask that Vancouverites help in any capacity they can, and save a key cornerstone in our city, province, and country. ” – Joseph Lee, Founder/CPO at Freshline (freshline.io)
“Deciding to be part of this fundraiser was an easy decision. The thought of the Aquarium closing forever is unthinkable, there is no such other place in Canada. So many kids enjoy it and learn to love and care for the ocean there. I also wanted to contribute my time because as a chef I have learned so much from the Ocean Wise seafood program over the years. I hope the public will continue to support the Aquarium and Ocean Wise, and enjoy some delicious sustainable seafood chowder at the same time.” – Chef Welbert Choi, Forage restaurant
“As a chef, a fly fisherman, cold water diver, and conservation-minded proud Cascadian, I hold the work of the Vancouver Aquarium and the Ocean Wise Seafood program in the highest regard. In the incredibly challenging times we are facing globally, I am proud to be able to contribute to the Vancouver Aquarium’s work to secure the future of our oceans and their inhabitants. My mantra as a chef has always been “Cook. Clean. Communicate”, and I have never found a better resource to share the importance of ocean conservation and sustainable seafood than Vancouver Aquarium and Ocean Wise.” – Chef Mark Greenfield, Seaside Provisions
“At Two Rivers Meats we recognize the need for healthy lands and seas. We admire and support everything Ocean Wise and the Vancouver Aquarium do to promote and educate people about the importance of healthy oceans and ocean species. The Vancouver Aquarium is an iconic destination in B.C. and we are proud to come together with others in the culinary community to sell delicious chowder for a good cause”. – Jason Pleym, President Two Rivers Meats.