“It doesn’t get any better — well, maybe at Le Bernadin,” he joked, “than the seafood that you’ll eat today,” said Ocean Wise Executive Chef Ned Bell at the James Beard House for the Westcoast Wild: British Columbia Wines & Seafood Celebration Dinner earlier this month.

In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Canada this year, the James Beard House, Wines of British Columbia and Ocean Wise brought together outstanding wine and seafood from British Columbia to showcase a truly Canadian feast.

Hosted by Vancouver based sommelier and wine writer Kurtis Colt, the daytime culinary event featured a multi-course BC VQA wine paired seafood lunch prepared by Bell and a host of Executive Chefs from New York and Chicago who came together to delight guests with a menu of truly remarkable seafood offerings.

Bell, who recently rode his bike across Canada to raise awareness about sustainable seafood, is dedicated to protecting the oceans by making ocean-friendly seafood choices.  He  explained that his menu was inspired by the Pacific… and British Columbia’s fisherman.

“It’s the last wild protein that we get to eat,” he said.

And the dish he was looking forward to most?  The Albacore Tuna: “[It’s the] best tuna that you’ll ever have in your life.”

The Wines of British Columbia were also markedly on display.  The area’s short hot summers create a habitat for vines unlike anywhere else in the world, and its wine tourism industry has a 27 year standard — Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA) — that guarantees the wine is made from 100% British Columbia grapes.

On the menu: Geoduck & Pacific Scallops Crudo was accompanied by Steller’s Jay Brut from the Okanagan Valley. Second course (Bell’s favorite!) Albacore Tuna paired nicely with the crisp Similkameen Valley’s Little Farm Winery Mulberry Tree Vineyard Riesling.  The West Coast Mussel & Clam Soup danced on the tongue with Black Hills Estate Winery‘s aromatic Chardonnay.  Bordertown Vineyard Cabernet Franc really brought out the mushrooms and black truffle in the BC Salmon fourth course.  And a Poplar Grove Winery Syrah was a delightful complement to Roasted Haida Gwaii Halibut.  Then Icewine with a chocolate mousse to finish.

This majestic meal was an excellent way to celebrate Canada’s major milestone.  Happy 150th!