True story … the summer before Trish decided to attend culinary school and don those lovely black and white checkered pants; she spent her days watching the Food Network. One of the chefs that inspired her was Ned Bell … fast forward to Sunday, March 25th and the two of them are paired for Ottawa’s 2nd annual celebrity chefs of canada event.
Small world eh?
I had the opportunity to chat with Ned last week (he very generously spent an hour on the phone with me) … and I now know the following things about him:
1. He is one busy man … and I mean B-U-S-Y!
2. He’s passionate about the concept from farm / ocean to table … and takes it pretty seriously.
3. He sure can talk … especially when asked about the upcoming halibut and spot prawn season.
4. He is HUGELY excited about getting to Ottawa this weekend for celebrity chefs of canada.
Ned Bell’s career has taken him from the West coast to Toronto and Calgary and then back to the West Coast … leaving behind him a trail of successful restaurants (and a stint on television). Currently he’s the man behind YEW Restaurant and Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.
One would think that responding to a clientele that requests “eating and drinking locally”, in an operation that never stops (YEW is open 365 days a year), would be impossible.
Ned proves that it isn’t.
By sticking to his passion for local, season and sustainable food; Ned has continued to foster his relationships with regional suppliers (fruit and veg from the Okanagan, fish and shellfish from oganic ocean); always ensuring a fresh, vibrant, beautiful menu. As he says, his food is “globally inspired and locally created.”
You’d also think that after a 12 hour day at work, Ned would be the first one to run home and relax.
To think that is to not know Ned.
Ned is currently training for a marathon … he just purchased a road bike (great for cross training) … he’s also involved in Vancouver’s 18th annual dining out for life (March 29th), then an event with Lynn Crawford at YEW (March 31st): and finally he’ll be running his 6th marathon on May 6th … which he’ll follow with a flight to Kelowna in order to face-off against Top Chef Canada Season One winner Dale MacKay in an iron chef challenge.
Are you tired yet?
His drive to promote local farmers has resulted in him founding feast of fields. He’s also pretty darn enthusiastic about fish and shell fish. Along with organic ocean, Ned has been working on his “tuna project” – his mission to can the best tuna that you can buy.
He’s also working closely with the guys at organic ocean in order to have this season’s first halibut landed in his restaurant. Ned talks about halibut (and spot prawns … and oysters … and tuna … and scallops … and clams …) the same way most people talk about a decadent chocolate dessert.
I told you that Ned likes to talk :0)
Then I asked him about coming to Ottawa, working with Trish Larkin, and participating in celebrity chef of canada.
I could almost hear him smile as he talked about getting the opportunity to hang out and see his great friends Quang Dang (West Restaurant, Vancouver), Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watchco, Toronto) and Susur Lee (Lee, Toronto).
Ned genuinely can not wait to work with his peers; being presented with the opporunity to talk food, get inspired, learn new things, and build new friendships.
Trish Larkin is one of those newly forged friendships .
Full of praise for her talent, Ned spoke warmly of the collaboration between the two chefs. They’ve been able to put together a dish that will not only be simple and easy to make (for the everyday cook), but it’ll also be full of flavour, bright, and light.
Ned told me what they are making.
I’ve been debating sharing it with all of you … giving you a heads-up.
I’ve decided not to.
It’s going to stay a secret until Sunday.
Makes you want to come doesn’t it? Tickets are still available. Do it. Click here and come spend Sunday afternoon with me and all of these great chefs.