On Saturday, May 13, 2017, the Chefs’ Table Society of B.C. hosted their 11th Annual Spot Prawn Festival. The family friendly event attracted 2000+ attendees this year and I had the pleasure to capture this experience for the first time. But before I dive into the details of my #ChucksFoodventure I would like to share some information related to the event.
So who is the Chefs’ Table Society?
The Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia is a chef-administered, province-wide collaborative dedicated to creating a foundation for the exchange of information between culinary professionals. We support innovative and sustainable programs that will inspire, educate and nurture our chefs, our producers and our local food industry, all the while promoting standards of excellence with the aim of enhancing the reputation of our regional cuisine.
(cited from www.cheftablesociety.com)
What is a B.C. Spot Prawn?
Some characteristics include:
- B.C. Spot Prawns are the largest out of the 7 species of shrimp. (Sizes can exceed 9 inches in length)
- The meat from the tail is sweet, delicate and clean tasting(not fishy).
- It has a translucent and firm body.
You could find more information on the BC Spot Prawn from my blog post last year called “BC SPOT PRAWNS: SEASONAL DELICACY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA“.
Are B.C. Spot Prawns Sustainable?
Spot Prawns are one the most sustainable seafood here in the province of British Columbia. This is achieved by the well-managed program that is currently in place.
Here are a few things in that program:
- Limited amount of licenses are issued
- Restrictions with equipment(size, traps per license)
- Documentation of catches
- Daily haul limits
- Required minimum harvest size
- Season closures for when the harvest reaches its threshold
For more information on BC Spot Prawns check out the links below:
Get ready to check out #ChucksFoodventure
As I arrived at the 11th Annual BC Spot Prawn Festival around 11:15 am, you could already see a lineup of people at the entrance. It was a typical day in Vancouver which started off with a little bit of overcast and shortly after, a little drizzle.
Immediately after passing the public check-in line, I could see a crowd of people lined up against the railing to the left. This was the lineup for the Prawn Boil. Customers purchased tickets beforehand online and tickets were also available on site at the Blue tent.
Here are a few snaps of what was included in this year’s Prawn Boil.
Activities & Showcases
Many tents were set up with different activities, showcases and live music for you to enjoy. There was a stage where local Chefs demonstrated the way they prepared and cooked B.C. Spot Prawns.
Cooking Demos Schedule:
11:00 am – Dino Renaerts, Bon Vivant Group
11:30 am – Taryn Wa, Savoury Chef Catering
12:00 pm – Andrew Shepherd, Vancouver Island Salt Co.
12:30 pm – Quang Dang, West Restaurant
1:00 pm – Matt Horn, Cowichan Pasta
1:30 pm – Isabel Chung, Fairmont Whistler
2:00 pm – Jeff Koop, Mamie Taylor’s Restaurant
2:30 pm – Shelome Bouvette, Chicha Restaurant
This year the live music was provided by the musical group Scattered Coals. Here’s a taste of their music from their Soundcloud profile: https://soundcloud.com/scatteredcoals
A short clip of the Scattered Coals at the festival:
Fresh B.C. Spot Prawns for Sale at the Dock
One of the other highlights of the Spot Prawn Festival is purchasing fresh live spot prawns on the docks. The spot prawns are sold at the fisherman’s Wharf at 1pm-2pm daily during the months of May and June. The season may sometimes end early if the stock of spot prawns reaches its allowable season harvest. I had the opportunity to capture the sales action of the Organic Ocean Seafood and the Salty’s Stew’s Seafood boats.
I’ve captured the action down at the docks, see for yourself.
The cost for a single pound of BC Spot Prawns this year is $20. Many local were purchasing a minimum of 2 pounds and up to 20 pounds. This year I decided to purchase 4 pounds for my family of five. The Spot Prawns were delicious when cooked and also served raw.
Check out my video on How to Eat a Live BC Spot Prawn?
So after the docks, I decided to check out more activities at the tent. There was an area of the festival just off to the side where the cooking demo stage set up. A long line-up was forming and it looked like there was wine/beer samples and coffee.
This was a great 1st experience at the 11th Spot Prawn Festival. It is also my first event with a media pass and I captured a lot of moments in my pictures and video footage. The weather was not that great at the start but if you’re a true Vancouverite, a little rain shouldn’t phase you.
I enjoyed the energy of the event and how it was also family friendly. Personally, I wouldn’t participate in the Prawn Boil because I’d love to cook at home for my big family and guests. I love seafood and I would like to see this event grow even more in the years to come. The information and awareness of the food captured in our waters are part of this events culture.
I would love to see more options of cooked Spot Prawns sold to the public in the future. Maybe grilled, deep-fried in a Panko crust, pan-fried and more. I would recommend this event for families and new event goers. It’s a one-day event that you don’t want to miss.