Green Award 2015

Green Award winner of Vancouver Magazine's 26th Annual Restaurant Awards

April 21, 2015

Four years ago, Ned Bell was on a beach in Halifax one night with a bunch of colleagues. They were unwinding after a day of Canadian Chefs Congress meetings, shooting the breeze and watching the stars, when the aha moment hit. “We’re all about what’s growing in our own regions and provinces, but we didn’t have a national conversation around sustainable seafood,” says the Okanagan-born chef. He’d just taken a job with the Vancouver Four Seasons, rebranding its storied Yew restaurant into a standard-bearer for environmental responsibility. It became the first luxury hotel in the country to sign on as 100 percent Ocean Wise, and Bell has seen that hyperfocus pay off with his bosses (revenues have jumped from $6 million a year to $9 million), with his customers (“If you give them a choice between cheaper, non-sustainable seafood and premium seafood from a well-managed fishery, even if it’s a few bucks more, they’ll choose the latter”), and with Mother Nature.

Last summer, he put his feet where his mouth was, biking from St. John’s back home, running 24 sustainable-seafood events en route. It was 150 kilometres a day, all to educate his peers on halting the strip-mining of our oceans, managing our fisheries through inland farming, and eating down the food chain to preserve rivers, lakes, and oceans. For the chef, a fit 41 and infectiously passionate about his nascent foundation, the challenges (Prairie headwinds, bedbug motels) paled beside the payoff. “I feel so fortunate to have this wobbly soapbox to stand on. This is my life now. I have found my calling.” Chefsforoceans.com

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