Shop with a Chef: Gord Martin, Go Fish, Bin 941 & 942

September 1, 2009

It takes a skilled and slightly batty chef to combine French, Japanese, Spanish, Tex-Mex, Italian, and Vietnamese cooking traditions and deliver nothing short of a small-plates revolution. “I’ve been cooking for 30 years, so I’ve got no problem taking things that are classic and tasty and turning them on their heads,” says Gord Martin. This ain’t 100-Mile Diet land, but Martin has been working with local suppliers since he opened Bin 941 in 1998—witness the wild success of the fresh-caught food at his dockside shack Go Fish. Martin is fond of the produce markets that dot the block-long stretch of Georgia east of Main, where he buys dragonfruit and fragrant pear for an Asian-style Waldorf salad with celery, pecans, Japanese mayo, and lime. Sieu Thi Wong Xin Market (747 Gore St., 604-688-8235) flies foodstuffs in from Vietnam once a week, and it’s here he finds baby lotus root “the size of a penne noodle—all it needs is a bit of garlic and oil, and you’ve got a vegan pasta.” The West End farmers market (Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1100 Comox St. Eatlocal.org) has hit its stride, he says (“no more shitty arts ’n’ crafts”), and in September he’ll be shopping there for heirloom tomatoes, interesting greens, edible flowers, and local hazelnuts. Martin will roast the nuts and grind them up with good-quality Maldon salt to elevate a Qualicum Bay scallop ceviche with coconut foam and minted watermelon—one of the hits on the Bins’ new pintxos menu ($5 Spanish tapas bites). Where does Martin get inspiration for these down-the-rabbit-hole dishes? “I’m still working off all that acid I took in the ’70s."

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