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Celebrate the B.C. spot prawn season from the comfort of your home

BC Spot Prawns top a delicious Paella.
BC Spot Prawns top a delicious Paella.

B.C. spot prawn mania is underway. These delicious, sweet prawns harvested from our own west coast waters have become an epic success story.

Back in 2006, Vancouver chefs decided to throw a festival to honour this local bounty and to raise awareness and promote the eat local campaign. The turnout was phenomenal and since then this annual event draws spectacular crowds.

Wild B.C. spot prawns are known around the world for their sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture. They are most recognizable for their reddish brown colour, which turns bright pink when cooked, defining white spots on their tail and white horizontal bars on the carapace. B.C. spot prawns are the largest of the seven commercial species of shrimp found on the west coast of Canada.

The festival had to be cancelled because of COVID-10 however, the Chefs’ Table Society of B.C. and Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association announced the festival is returning for 2021. 

The festival is going virtual for the entire season, with chefs across B.C. and Canada showcasing the versatility and ease of this easily identifiable B.C. delicacy. By following Chef's Table social media accounts, foodies will be connected to spot prawn-loving chefs. Followers will learn how to identify spot prawns, how to cook them, where to purchase, and the sustainability of the fishery so generations are able to enjoy this special treat for years to come. Hashtags to follow or use are #SpotPrawnFestival, #BCSpotPrawns, and #CTSBelong.

The main Spot Prawn Festival event will be held virtually on Saturday, May 29, 2021. Spot prawn lovers will be able to cook their own three-course dinner with B.C. spot prawns as the star. Tutorials will be guided by Chef's Table members from three B.C. regions and include Chefs Angus An of Maenam in Vancouver, Ned Bell and Stacy Johnston of Naramata Inn in the Okanagan and Ken Nakano of Aura Waterfront Restaurant + Patio located at Inn at Laurel Point in Victoria, as well as special guest and Order of Canada recipient Chef Robert Clark. The host for the evening will be lover of spot prawns and everything local Lien Yeung, CBC Vancouver News Anchor/Reporter.

This virtual event will mimic the annual Spot Prawn Festival demo-stage at home. Guests of the event will be provided with a grocery list (for four servings), equipment list, recipes, and a video link to the tutorial for each course. At 7 p.m., attending guests will then enjoy their B.C. spot prawn creations while engaging live with the four speakers. Speakers will share the history of Spot Prawn Festival, cooking demos, recipes, secret tips on where to purchase ingredients and the delicious spot prawns. Tickets for the online event are $25 and available on Eventbrite.

The 2021 Spot Prawn Festival will also allow foodies who are less inclined to cook to indulge in a delicious Chef's Table chowder at home with the click of a mouse. The sustainable spot prawn & seafood Manhattan (tomato-based) chowder will be available frozen through Legends Haul and Organic Ocean after being prepared by Chef's Table chefs.

“While CTS would like nothing more than to serve guests in-person at Fisherman’s Wharf, the chowder can now be enjoyed at home even after the season has ended,” President Darren Clay said.

Chowder sales will begin on May 14, 2021 directly from select distributors. 

To learn more about the Chefs’ Table Society of B.C. click here.

To learn more about the Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association click here.

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