The much anticipated C Food cookbook was recently launched in suitably aquatic style at the Vancouver Aquarium on November 2, 2009. The venue was very much in keeping with C Restaurant’s integral role in the launch and subsequent nation-wide role out of the Vancouver Aquarium’s sustainably-oriented Ocean Wise program.
It also provided for a one-of-a-kind book launch as the Vancouver Aquarium’s Leslie McFarland flippered her way to the bottom of the two story tank to retrieve a sealed copy of C Food. Rising like the Lady of the Lake, the book was delivered to shore to be opened by C owner Harry Kambolis and presented to the widow of a man who provided C and the sustainable movement much inspiration, the late Chef Soren Fakstrop.
As much a celebration of individual talents as a compendium of sterling West Coast recipes taken to the zenith of artistic appeal, C Food is as likely to serve on the coffee table as in the kitchen. For Kambolis and executive chef Robert Clark, it is the culmination of a creative endeavour that brilliantly highlights the photographic flair of Hamid Attie and the sustainable bounty of British Columbia.
Opting out of the white-wash backdrops, C Food’s photography pops off of each black page, the delicate seafood inspirations set in brilliant contrast. For publisher Whitecap Books, it is another West Coast gem and a definitive black swan.
Difference though has always been the defining characteristic of C Restaurant – that and passion. It is the combination of the two that fuelled both the cookbook’s creative process and chef Robert Clark’s own personal journey. As an ambassador for sustainable seafood solutions and an ardent supporter of local suppliers, he credits the likes of Fakstrop, Jamie Kennedy and Christina Burridge for bringing him into the role he seems to suit so effortlessly.
“When we first opened, sustainability was not the goal. I don’t think it was even called sustainability then. We just wanted good seafood,” he said at a small dinner following the launch prepared by from the cookbook by C’s chef Quang Dang. “Christina would always have a fresh source for us and her passion and network provided a lot of inspiration.”
He credits Toronto’s Kennedy for really turning him on to local food and explains how the sustainability ethos evolved. “I find greater satisfaction in what I do when I am closest to the source and I think that is the key. The more passionate we become, the more rewarding everything else becomes.”
That passion not only crafted C’s mission statement, but led to the creation of both RainCity Grill and Nu, as well as a full line of Certified Ocean Product (COP) salts and seasonings. And finally, to C Food.
On this night of celebration we are graced with both chef Clark’s company at the table, and chef Dang’s take on six recipes lifted straight from the pages.
- Chilled Fennel Consomme with fresh mussels and fried basil (p. 22)
- Dungeness Crab wrapped in winter melon with toasted hazelnuts and preserved lemon (p. 16)
- BC Sardine wrapped in bacon with spinach, pine nuts and mustard paper (p. 50)
- Honey Glazed Sablefish with 7C’s spiced Humboldt squid and chili creme fraiche (p.32/60)
- Grilled AAA Beef Cap with broccolini, smoked sea salt and bone marrow sauce
- Baked Lemon Tart with apricot jelly and a chocolate pistachio stick (p.114)