Would these BC chefs be okay if food critics reviewed their restaurants without having eaten there?
By Fabian Dawson
This week, the anti-fish farm activists rounded up some Vancouver-area chefs to denounce sustainable salmon farming in BC.
None of them, who turned up for a press conference, have been to a B.C. fish farm, as far as anyone can tell.
Ironically, their solution is to catch and eat more wild salmon to save it.
So my question is would they be okay for critics to write about their restaurants without having eaten there.
These chefs, part of a lethargic group that refuses to acknowledge the science that states there is no direct link between fish farms and the variable populations of wild stocks, have been duped into thinking B.C. fish farms are bad.
Some of these chefs have farmed seafood from Asia and elsewhere on their menus.
Leading the pack was Chef David Hawksworth of the Hawksworth Restaurant.
He declared “It’s clear that these salmon farms are bad for the fish and the environment and, as a result, our industry.”
David, let me tell you what is bad for the environment and the food industry.
Only two months ago, Vancouver Coastal Health inspectors paid a visit to the Hawksworth Restaurant at 801 W Georgia St. They found four “outstanding critical infractions” and five “outstanding non-critical infractions”.
A critical infraction is considered to be an infraction which is more likely to contribute to illness and/or injury or one which could have an immediate impact on the safe and sanitary operation of the food premises unless corrected.
Among what the inspectors found at Hawksworth Restaurant include;
Equipment, utensils and/or food contact surfaces not in a condition that ensures safe and sanitary food handling;
Wiping cloths are not clean, restricted in use and/or stored in approved sanitizing solution; Sanitizing solution is not present or at insufficient concentration;
Potentially hazardous food not at a refrigerated temperature that keeps it safe to eat;
Food not being handled in a sanitary manner and subject to contamination;
Food safety plan not maintained to reflect the current menu;
Sanitizer levels are not being monitored and recorded;
Hand washing stations are not properly supplied and maintained.
Similarly, the other chefs that have jumped on the anti-farm salmon bandwagon – Robert Clark (The Fish Counter), Hidekazu Tojo (Tojo’s), Jeremy Belcourt (Salmon n’ Bannock) and Meeru Dhalwala (Vij’s) also have a history of violations.
How would these chefs feel about a campaign that urged people not to visit their restaurants because they pose a danger to the public?
Or a suggestion they be shut down and their permits not renewed?
These elitists, whose menu is beyond the reach of the average British Columbian, are willfully ignorant that BC fish farms operate under rules that are more stringent than those which govern the pork, chicken and beef they put on their tables.
They are also guilty of wanting to kill thousands of jobs in BC, aided by groups that get their funds from foreign interests.
If public safety and the environment is important to this culinary crowd, these chefs should learn about fish farming and visit the farms.
They should also ensure their kitchens are clean and the food they serve won’t endanger their patrons.
Perhaps then, they will have some credibility to put on their menus.