Acclaimed chef, cookbook author, and sustainability guru Ned Bell discusses sustainability, wild BC salmon, and how food can bring people together.
Mediaplanet: What encouraged your love for all things culinary?
Ned Bell: I started cooking as a young guy, around 12 or so for my brother and sister. I quickly realized how food brought us together for moments during the day when we needed to connect. To this day that’s the driving force behind what I do, cook good food and nurture people, family, friends, or peers. They gather around the table and we can dive into the challenges or celebrations of the day.
What are your top tips for buying local and fresh produce?
Shop at the local, small family owned -market, make shopping a key part of your weekly routine, and place importance and value on the act of gathering food and supporting the smaller shops and specialty markets. They have their fingers on the pulse and in turn, you will, too. Know your farmers, your fishermen, your bakers, and your butcher. Every chef needs a farmers, and every farmer needs a chef. Buy BC, buy Ocean Wise. Buy Canadian. Buy seasonally.
We understand that you’re a big fan of wild BC salmon. What are the benefits of purchasing wild BC salmon over other salmon?
BC is the only place on the planet that has five unique species of wild salmon. It is premium high-quality extremely healthy fish. Mother Nature feeds orca, eagles, bears, trees, and humans with that fish. Without it the ecosystem collapses.
There is no focus more important than a healthy ocean, every second breath we take comes from the world’s ocean, it gives us the reliable weather we need to grow anything on land, and wild pacific salmon is the most important fish in the sea. We must protect it. And, it happens to be delicious.
By choosing local, you support your neighbour, the culture, and the fabric of your home.
Why is sustainability of growing importance when it comes to food?
We need to champion knowledge in our food system, the where, the how, the who, and the what. Simply start by asking a few more questions: is this resilient, is it regenerative, is it rebuilding, is it responsible for our future generations. Will my children children’s still have access to it? Cherish mother nature, believe in her, let her thrive and she will supply us with wild and farmed food that is healthy and nutritious for our family for thousands of years to come.
Why is buying local BC produce so important for the BC economy?
Supporting local artisans, farmers, and fishermen has immediate, valuable and long-lasting benefits to the community. By choosing local, you support your neighbour, the culture, and the fabric of your home. It pays dividends at your child’s school, on the streets of your cities and towns, and in turn the province. Plus, it will fill your food basket and your bucket emotionally to support the people growing food for our table. It nourishes us.