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Stories in Progress: Terroir Symposium’s Best Practice Culinary Mission, St. John’s

I think one of the key issues here is that you have one of the most recognizable brands here in Canada in Newfoundland. You are selling a dream. And part of that dream is your food culture. And if people come here to visit and they can’t actually have that experience, all the money and all the time, and all the energy you’ve spent marketing this beautiful province is wasted. Because there’s only one thing that every tourist does three times a day, regardless of why they come here, there’s only one thing that touches all five of the senses – and that’s eating and drinking.

Rebecca LeHeup, vice chair of Terroir Symposium and executive director of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, succinctly summarized why industry experts and representatives from the province’s governing bodies should have interest in the pitch from the hospitality industry during one of the weekend’s lively panel discussions on the past and current state of culture and fisheries in Newfoundland.

Rebecca LeHeup with Steve Dolinsky at a pre-Terroir reception in 2013

Rebecca LeHeup with Steve Dolinsky at a pre-Terroir reception in 2013

Rebecca LeHeup with Chef Albert Ponzo of Le Sélect Bistro and Cheese Boutique's Afrim Pristine at Terroir 2015

Rebecca LeHeup with Chef Albert Ponzo of Le Sélect Bistro and Cheese Boutique’s Afrim Pristine at Terroir 2015

The few days of joint awareness, beginning conversations, educating people on how to go forward with the fishery, being able to use bycatch because a lot of time it goes to waste because there’s no market value, and how it’s important to engage chefs and the chef community about being able to purchase directly from fisherman, is an important thing. There’s a responsibility for chefs to really try and make that happen and deal with government and the right people going forward… For me it’s super exciting because we’ve been talking about it for a long time and trying to make it work, but to really focus and have all the attention the last few days, when everyone was here, really stirred the pot, so to speak. I’m really looking forward to how we will move forward and hopefully make change.

Jeremy Charles, chef and co-owner of Raymonds, St. John’s Newfoundland on the results of the three day mission of chefs and members of the hospitality industry from Newfoundland, across Canada, US and Europe coming in to help stimulate change in Newfoundland’s outdated fishing policies.

We learned since the advent of radio-television, that demand can be created. Commercials tell me what automobile, blue jeans, shampoo… I should buy. And what I want. I may not know I wanted it.  But now I want it.

I know that Safeway had many campaigns with different food items that may have been made in favour for dietary concerns, figure reducing…  We had the ‘Beef, it’s what’s for dinner,’ then the ‘the incredible, edible egg’ commercial. Now we have little cute, dopey cows playing with children to tell me I want California cheese. I don’t even know what California cheese tastes like, but I’m curious now because I keep seeing these damn cows.

It occurs to me, you should be having advertisement showing beautiful snow crabs and things like that, people at picnics, and showing people it’s from here. I didn’t even know you had snow crabs here; I’ve only heard of them from the west coast.

Tamar Fleishman, journalist from the examiner.com, Baltimore

More on this story in progress in the coming week. Watch for a special package on the state of fishing and fisheries in Atlantic Canada in next week’s Globe and Mail.

About Renée Suen

Renée Suen is a food loving freelance writer and photographer based in Toronto. Her insatiable appetite, curiosity and camera are often found travelling around the world in search of memorable tastes and the stories behind the plate. In another life, she is a PhD candidate in Cardiovascular Sciences.


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