A festival to celebrate a Valley economic driver

The BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival is offering a host of events throughout the Comox Valley from June 9 to 19.

Chef Nathan Fong with West Restaurant chef Quang Dang at a cooking demonstration.

Chef Nathan Fong with West Restaurant chef Quang Dang at a cooking demonstration.

The BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival — the largest of its kind in Western Canada — is offering a host of events throughout the Valley from June 9 to 19, showcasing the best of the province’s seafood industry, its producers and its bounty.

“The 10th anniversary of Comox’s signature shellfish festival will be better than ever,” Comox Mayor Paul Ives said. “Now known as the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival, it will have significant economic benefits for tourist operators, local restaurants and hotels, and shellfish/seafood producers. There is an unprecedented number of international seafood and shellfish buying groups here, along with keynote speakers that will help to make it the best yet.”

Locally, the multi-million dollar shellfish industry employs several hundred people at such operations as Fanny Bay Oysters, Mac’s Oysters and the Baynes Sound Oyster Co.

“It’s a significant employer in my area,” Area A director Bruce Jolliffe said. “From the stats, we grow over half the shellfish in British Columbia within Baynes Sound.

“Just like any resource industry, there’s secondary jobs that get generated,” he added. “You always have what we call, ‘The multiplier factor’.”

The signature event of this year’s festival is the June 18 Comox by the Sea Celebration at Filberg Park in Comox. It features a shucking championship emceed by Toronto’s Shucker Paddy — a Guinness Book of World Record holder and international shucking champion.

The shucking competition is open to anyone and the grand prize is a trip to Prince Edward Island’s Shellfish Festival to compete in the Raspberry Point International Oyster Shucking Championship.

Visit the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival microsite at discovercomoxvalley.com to register.

Speaking of competitions, while you are there, make sure to check out the Ocean Wise Chowder Challenge. Cheer on chefs as they compete for the title of ‘Best Chowder.’ Participating restaurants include Fluid Bar & Grill, Courtenay; Seamount Marine Ltd, Qualicum Beach; Beach Bay Cafe, Victoria; and Billy D’s Bistro, Courtenay.

The winning participant will be awarded a trip to Vancouver to compete in the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown!

The Comox By The Sea Celebration will also showcase award-winning chefs Hidekazu Tojo of Tojo’s Restaurant, Quang Dang and his acclaimed West Restaurant, and foodstylist/media personality Nathan Fong, representing BC Seafood.

The festival also incorporates a Seafood Expo, June 9 and 10, which will bring together producers and exporters from around the Pacific Northwest. There will be seminars, speakers, B2B meetings with 40 international seafood buyers, facility site tours and a trade show at the Westerly. Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick will attend, along with 30 industry speakers and 30 trade show exhibitors.

A June 10 Fresh Fest will showcase the talents of some of B.C.’s top chefs, including Ronald St. Pierre (Locals Restaurant) and Nyle Petherbridge (Kingfisher).

“All of us are working hard to create special dishes that best showcase B.C.’s marine bounty,” chef Ned Bell said.

New festival events include a Chef’s Shellfish Showdown, June 12 at 40 Knots Winery; the K’omoks Estuary Seafood Dinner, June 15 at Locals; the Jelly Fish Project, June 14 at the Sid Williams Theatre; and Shells, Sips and Savour, June 14 at the Prime Chophouse and Wine Bar.

Tickets for all the events are available at the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival microsite at discovercomoxvalley.com

Have a taste

The tasting stations are always a big hit at the Comox By The Sea Celebration.

Sample the best of British Columbia’s award winning shellfish and seafood producers and restaurants.

Here’s an idea of what is on the menu:

• Smoked Salmon from Marine Harvest (presented by Salish Sea Foods)

• Fresh shucked raw oysters with lemon, tabasco and prepared horseradish (presented by Fanny Bay Oysters)

• Barbecued BC farmed salmon (presented by BC Salmon Farmers Association)

• House marinated sockeye salmon with sweet chili glaze on artisan greens with honey yogurt dressing (presented by Union Street Grill)

• Fish Tacos (presented by Billy D’s Pub & Bistro)

• Fish Kottu – mix of marinated salmon with chopped veggies, farm eggs and homemade roti (presented by Ceylon Cuisine & Spices)

• Candied salmon mousse cup (presented by Custom Gourmet Catering)

• Seafood chowder and seafood ceviche salad (presented by Fluid Bar & Grill)

• Panko crusted Halibut with greens and fruit compote (presented by North Vancouver Island Chefs Association)

• Deep-fried oysters with signature sauce (presented by Mac’s Oysters and Westcoast Mobile Kitchen)

And even a lemonade stand, presented by the Tour de Rock team.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

12-year-old Ella Smiley captured some video of orcas on a sea lion hunt on Nov. 28 at Kitty Coleman Park, just north of Courtenay. Photo by Ella Smiley
VIDEO: Orcas hunt sea lion near Kitty Coleman Park

Twelve-year-old Ella Smiley, of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings, caught up with a… Continue reading

The School District 71 DPAC hosted an online forum for candidates hoping to fill a vacant board of education position. Screenshot, SD71 DPAC Facebook page
Six make their pitch to fill empty school board seat in Comox Valley

District’s parents advisory council hosted the online forum for Area C candidates

Many of the static aircraft displays are decorated in thousands of lights for almost the entire month of December at the airpark on Military Row in Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
VIDEO: Christmas lights on display at 19 Wing airpark

Per COVID-19 rules, viewing of the display is strongly encouraged by vehicle and not exiting the car

GP Vanier grad Samantha Rebitt has earned the 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal, with an academic average of 99.8 per cent. Photo supplied
GP Vanier announces its 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal winner

Samantha Rebitt had a near-perfect 99.8 per cent academic average

The suspect in a Nov. 22 attempted robbery at the Ryan Road 7-Eleven has been arrested. Photo supplied
Courtenay man arrested in connection with attempted robbery at 7-Eleven

A 19-year old Courtenay man has been arrested following an attempted robbery… Continue reading

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Letter to the editor.
LETTER – Horgan’s election promise of COVID relief cash is money foolishly spent

Dear editor, Would you dip into your child’s registered education fund to… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

JumpCamp CEO Patrick Kitto shows off his technique. Photo by Brett Kroeker
Comox Valley snowboard organization holding annual snowboard drive

Christmas is coming so it’s time again for JumpCamp’s annual Santa Snowboard… Continue reading

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

Most Read