Ladysmith home cooking supports sustainable seafood

A “chowdown” is set in Vancouver this week and Ladysmith’s Natasha Harris is aiming to win it.

  • Nov. 22, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Chef Natasha Harris will be competing in a chowdown this week.

By Christopher Sun

The Chronicle

A “chowdown” is set in Vancouver this week and Ladysmith’s Natasha Harris is aiming to win it.

On Wednesday, Harris and 11 of Vancouver’s top chefs will compete for bragging rights at the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown for the best seafood chowder. The friendly competitive event at the Vancouver Aquarium aims to bring attention to sustainable seafood.

“It’s to celebrate sustainable seafood and celebrate Ocean Wise,” said Vancouver Aquarium spokeswoman Roxanne St-Pierrie. “It is also a demonstration of how easy it is to include Ocean Wise friendly foods in your meal.”

Ocean Wise and its fish symbol, which is used nationwide, was created by the Vancouver Aquarium to aid consumers in choosing ocean-friendly seafood when visiting a restaurant or market.

Harris, 36, is the executive chef for Sunset Bay Yacht Group in Vancouver.

The Yellowpoint native spent a summer working on a boat which practised fish dragging, a type of fishing that involves dragging a net in the water, which collects everything in the water.

“It was disgusting the amount of fish going to waste,” Harris said. “Whatever they didn’t want was thrown over the side and most were already dead at that point. It was sick.”

Harris’ chowder entry will be alder smoked octopus and cured bacon, with a mixture of sable fish, clams, mussels, smoked cheddar and apple, topping it off with truffle oil.

As a child, Harris’ favourite dish to make was hamburgers in a cast iron pan and homemade fries with her grandmother. This graduated to making homemade soups with her dad, thai dishes and then experimenting with mixing different items, using local produce from a nearby market.

This upbringing also made her a supporter of using locally sourced ingredients. Her first stop whenever she comes back to the Island to visit her family is the local produce market.

Harris moved to Vancouver shortly after high school to attend the Art Institute’s Dubrulle International Culinary Arts. She credited her family and how food brought them together, for igniting her passion in becoming a gourmand.

“I owe most of it to my mom, the passion,” Harris said. “She was one of those moms who wouldn’t get me an Easy-Bake oven because she was like ‘you’re cooking in a real one’.”

Harris’ first position after completing the first of many certifications was working at Culinary Capers, one of the largest catering companies in Canada. She then moved on to working on a yacht and has been there ever since.

“I love it, I have so much freedom to create,” Harris said about her current employer of five years. “I’m on the water, watching the beautiful sunset, you can’t beat it.”

Harris works up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week during peak season, serving corporate clients. She has made many contacts, which allows her to travel and work during the slow season. This includes being asked to be a personal chef on a 100 acre private island in Desolation Sound and being invited to California to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner.

Harris is now working on her sommelier certification at Dubrulle, in addition to working her job.

Just Posted

CVRD sending Ladysmith residents survey on future of recreation

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is looking for the public’s feedback… Continue reading

Ladysmith RCMP dispel rumours of Stz’uminus lockdown due to gunmen

Rumours that quickly spread on social media Monday night that two armed… Continue reading

Ladysmith woman fundraising for family, friends in hurricane ravaged Dominica

A local woman watched desperately from her Ladysmith home several weeks ago… Continue reading

Highway 19 reopened in Parksville after nearly six-hour closure

Northbound lanes closed after fallen tree drops hydro lines over roadway

VIDEO: Crews extinguish equipment fire south of Nanaimo

Volunteer fire departments battled a blaze that broke out at a property on Nanaimo River Road

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Kellers Jewellers in Lantzville suffers break-in

Incident happened around 5:30 a.m. Oct. 21, say police.

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Most Read